Buffalo Bills DT Marcell Dareus Facing Four Game Suspension

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Marcell Dareus can appeal his four-game suspension, but a previous suspension for substance abuse may make it different to win an appeal. The Bills will be without another one of the crucial components of their defense.

The Buffalo Bills have taken a few major hits this off-season as a result of substance abuse violations. Karlos Williams and Marcell Darius have both been suspended for four games due to violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In addition to losing two key players to suspensions, the Bills will hit with a steep fine because these two suspensions violate the NFL’s remittance policy. Last season, Dareus was banned from Buffalo’s season opener due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Marcell Dareus is adding unnecessary adversity to his career after coming off of a difficult 2015-16 season. Marcell Dareus played in 15 games last season and recorded two sacks, 38 tackles, 13 assisted tackles, and one fumble recovery. Last season was certainly a disappointing year for the 26-year-old defensive tackle, Marcell Dareus was coming off of a career-high ten sacks and followed it up with a career-low two sacks the next year. The upcoming season would have been a fantastic opportunity for Marcell Dareus to bounce back, but now he will have to wait four games longer.

One more violation of the NFL Substance Abuse Policy and Marcell Dareus will find himself in the danger zone known as Stage Three. “A Player who: fails to cooperate with testing, treatment, evaluation or other requirements imposed on him by this Policy or fails to comply with his Treatment Plan, both as determined by the Medical Director; or who has a Positive Test Result, will be banished from the NFL for a minimum period of one (1) calendar year,” per the NFL-PA Hand Book.

Duration (via NFL-PA Hand Book)

“A Player in Stage Three will remain in that stage for the remainder of his NFL career. However, after 24 months in Stage Three, if the Player has not had any additional positive tests, within a reasonable time period, the Medical Director and Medical Advisor will assess the Player and decide whether he will be discharged at that time. Such determination shall be based on the. (2015) 19 Player’s compliance with the Program, clinical progress and negative testing record. If the Player is not discharged, the Medical Director and Medical Advisor will, after twelve (12) months, assess whether the Player should be discharged at that time. After every such assessment, the Medical Director and Medical Advisor shall notify the Player in writing of their decision if they do not discharge the Player. Any decision to discharge a Player from the Program early as set forth in this Section shall be within the sole discretion of the Medical Director. Once a Player is discharged, he will be afforded the same status as a Player who had never by Behavior or a Positive Test been referred to the Intervention Program.”

Reinstatement will not be smooth for Marcell Dareus if he reaches a Stage Three ruling for a violation of the NFL Substance Abuse Policy.

Reinstatement (via NFL-PA Hand Book)

“Criteria: After the completion of the one-year banishment period, the Commissioner, in his sole discretion, will determine if and when the Player will be allowed to return to the NFL. A Player’s failure to adhere to his Treatment Plan during his banishment will be a significant consideration in the Commissioner’s decision. A Player seeking reinstatement also must meet certain clinical requirements as determined by the Medical Director and other requirements as set forth in Appendix B.”

“Procedures after Reinstatement: If a Player is reinstated, he will be returned to Stage Three for the remainder of his NFL career pursuant to (d) above and subject to continued testing and indefinite banishment. A Player allowed to return to the NFL following banishment must participate in continued treatment under this Intervention Program as required by the Medical Director.”

Marcell Dareus needs to be careful and straighten up his act soon, or else he could find himself looking for a new career path. Marcell Dareus has had an impressive NFL career so far, earning a First-Team All-Pro (2014), 2x Pro Bowl (2013, 2014), and PFWA All-Rookie Team (2011). In his career, Marcell Dareus has recorded 253 total tackles, 30.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and 12 pass deflections. If he can manage to stay away from trouble, there is no reason why Marcell Dareus cannot return to the great path of success that he was previously on.

The Josh Gordon situation should be a great example for Marcell Dareus to understand that a Stage Three ruling is nothing to touch. Now is the time for Marcell Dareus to stick with legal training methods and legal nutritional supplements, as well as avoiding recreational drugs. Marcell Dareus is too important to the Buffalo Bills to be missing games for reasons like suspensions. There is no doubt that Marcell Dareus will certainly be missed during the first four games of the upcoming season. For now, Marcell Dareus needs to focus on staying out of trouble and finishing the final 12 games of the season with a sensational performance.

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