Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first 10 games next season for his second violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy in as many years.
McClain was suspended for the first four games of last season. He signed a second straight one-year deal with the Cowboys in March, this one worth $5m.
The longer suspension is dictated by rules in the NFL’s labour agreement based on McClain’s previous violations.
Cowboys traded for McClain before training camp in 2014 after linebacker Sean Lee sustained a season-ending knee injury in the offseason. He got his career back on track with two solid seasons.
In 11 games in 2015, he was credited with 97 tackles, two sacks, nine tackles for loss, 10 pressures, one interception and three pass breakups.
McClain becomes the third potential starter on the Cowboys defence to be suspended to begin the season.
Defensive end Randy Gregory will be suspended the first four games, and DeMarcus Lawrence, who led the Cowboys with eight sacks last season, is awaiting the results of an appeal of a four-game suspension.