This is becoming a familiar occurrence in Green Bay. The Packers open the season without a defensive lineman because he’s suspended for drug-related reasons. This year, it will be Mike Pennel, who will miss the first four games for violating the league substance abuse policy.
Both Letroy Guion (three games) and Datone Jones (one) were suspended to open the 2015 season because of marijuana arrests.
Mike Neal, who is a free agent, was suspended four games to open the 2012 season.
Neal’s suspension was for performance-enhancing drugs. Pennel’s is for substance abuse, which we’re going to guess means he tested positive for marijuana.
The NFL doesn’t release the reason for the suspension.
The four-game suspension also means this isn’t the first time this has happened.
Players receive no suspension for their first violation. They only receive a suspension after failure to comply, so either a second positive test, missing a test entirely or not participating in the required treatment program.
This isn’t the first time Pennel has been in trouble either. He was suspended indefinitely from his Arizona State team in 2012 for going on a Twitter rant about not playing as much as he thought he should have.
While that’s more or less harmless, it does show poor judgment and resulted in Pennel transferring to Division II Colorado State-Pueblo.
Pennel was seemingly a rising star on the Packers defense. He became a regular in 2015 and posted career highs with 25 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.