BY SPNW Staff 01:44PM 05/17/2013

NFL Suspends Bruce Irvin For Drug Violation

Seahawks defensive end will miss the first four games of the regular season after testing positive for a substance banned by the NFL.

Bruce Irvin won’t be playing for the Seahawks until Oct. 6. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

DE Bruce Irvin, the Seahawks’  first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2012 draft, has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2013 regular season for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. He becomes the sixth Seahawk to receive a drug-related suspension since 2011, although Richard Shermans suspension was reversed on appeal in December.

Irvin is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to return to the active roster Sept. 30 following the team’s Sept. 29 game against the Houston Texans.

“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 a statement from the club. “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 was expected to start at defensive end because Chris Clemons probably will  miss the start of the season while recovering from knee surgery after being injured in the playoff win at Washington in January.

Seattle’s emphasis on the defensive line during free agency should help soften the blow. The Seahawks added  Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel and Michael Bennett to help an inconsistent pass rush.

Irvin finished his rookie season with eight sacks, just one in the final six weeks of the regular season. Irvin started against Atlanta in the NFC playoffs and appeared overwhelmed.

No drug was specified by the NFL, but the fact that Irvin acknowledged the absence of a prescription is consistent with similar cases around the NFL regarding the use of the stimulant Adderall. Four other Seahawks — John Moffitt, Allen Barbre, Winston Guy and Brandon Browner — have been suspended for violating league policy on banned substances. Sherman successfully appealed his suspension, claiming a chain of custody violation on his sample.

Sherman caused a stir last month when he told the Vancouver Sun that half the players in the NFL use Adderall.

“About half the league takes it (Adderall) and the league has to allow it,” Sherman said. “The league made a mistake in my case. Obviously, I didn’t do anything, but you have to go through a process to prove you didn’t do anything.

“There are still naysayers out there who don’t believe me. But I accept it. If everybody loves you, it probably means you’re not much of a player.”

Irvin, who played college football at West Virginia, will lose a quarter of his $814,635 salary in 2013. He signed a four-year, $9.34 million contract May 9, 2012. The $9.34 million is fully guaranteed, with $5.34 million paid out as a signing bonus.


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