The Broncos offseason, and defense, could be getting worse.
All-Pro linebacker Von Miller is facing a four-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s drug policy, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Miller, who finished second in the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2012, is currently in the appeals process.
If the suspension is upheld, the Broncos would lose Miller for the first four games of the 2013 season, including the regular-season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The suspension, while troubling for the team on the field, also adds yet another black mark to an already tainted Broncos offseason.
The Broncos were forced to suspend two front-office executives in recent weeks for their roles in separate drunk-driving arrests. Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell was suspended indefinitely and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert was banned for one month, both without pay.
Miller, 24, finished second in the NFL with 18.5 sacks in 2012, leading a resurgent Denver defense and leading the Broncos to a 13-2 record, tied with Atlanta for the best in the NFL. He was the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons.
The Broncos already lost the team’s second-leading pass rusher Elvis Dumervil (11 sacks in 2012) earlier this offseason after a contract snafu caused his release and subsequent signing with the Ravens. Without Miller, the Broncos would be left with second-year defensive end Derek Wolfe (six sacks) and linebacker Wesley Woodward (5 1/2) as the team’s two primary returning pass rushers.
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