RENTON — Bruce Irvin, Seattle’s first-round pick a year ago, has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the team announced Friday.
Irvin will not get paid for the first four games — amounting to around $192,000 in lost salary — but can still participate in all offseason activities, including exhibition games. The Seahawks play at Carolina, San Francisco, Jacksonville and at Houston to start the season. Irvin, a defensive end, will be eligible to return when Seattle plays at Indianapolis on Oct. 6.
Irvin released a statement Friday apologizing and saying he won’t appeal the suspension.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake when I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption,” Irvin said in the statement. “I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return.”
Irvin played in all 16 games for the Seahawks as a rookie last year. He had eight sacks, playing mostly as a pass-rusher off the edge. He also had 10 tackles and one forced fumble.
The suspension leaves the Seahawks’ defensive line with limited options early in the season.
Chris Clemons, who tore his ACL in the playoff game at Washington last year, is still rehabbing and could miss time early in the 2013 season. Defensive end Greg Scruggs, who had two sacks in his rookie season last year, had surgery for a torn ACL last week. The Seahawks haven’t ruled out a return this season, but it’s likely he won’t play.
That leaves Red Bryant, a returning starter, and free-agent additions Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett at defensive end. The Seahawks signed both players this offseason in moves that, at the time, looked like luxury additions. It doesn’t look that way anymore.
In addition to Irvin, Winston Guy, Brandon Browner, John Moffitt, Allen Barbre and Richard Sherman were all been suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances the past two years, although Sherman won his appeal.