NEW YORK: Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain was issued a 10-game ban and free agent quarterback Johnny Manziel was given a four-game suspension on Thursday (Friday in Manila) by the NFL for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
McClain would miss the first 10 games of the upcoming season for Dallas after missing the first four games of the 2015 campaign for violating the same policy. The Cowboys re-signed him for 2016 for $5 million.
Last season, McClain recovered from off-season surgery to make 97 tackles over 11 games with two sacks, nine tackles for loss, 10 quarterback pressures, one interception and three pass breakups.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said when McClain missed a June workout camp that the defender was dealing with a family matter in Alabama.
Dallas has other defenders facing bans as well. Defensive end Randy Gregory will be suspended the first four games and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who led the Cowboys in sacks last season, is appealing a four-game suspension.
Manziel was released by the Cleveland Browns in March after going 2-6 in his eight NFL starts and the four-game ban would be served when he returns to the league, if ever.
The 23-year-old is among only a handful of first-round NFL Draft selections to be cut two years into his rookie contract and could face potentially more roadblocks to an NFL comeback.
Manziel would also face a review under the NFL’s personal conduct policy after facing misdemeanor assault charges from his former girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, who accused him of domestic violence during a January incident in Texas, saying he hit her and threatened to kill her.
Manziel is pleading innocent but if a league review finds he committed a violation of the league’s domestic abuse policy, he faces a six-game ban on top of the four-game suspension for the substance abuse violation.
Manziel told TMZ he plans to become “completely sober” starting Friday.
The NFL has also imposed a one-game ban against New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson for a violation of the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. He will miss the Jets’ regular-season opener in September against Cincinnati.
Richardson pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in January stemming from his arrest for driving 143 mph while evading police with a 12-year-old in the car. He was not charged with child endangerment or a drug offense despite the police report indicating officers caught the aroma of marijuana while making the arrest.