- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Mike Pennel has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Pennel, an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State-Pueblo in 2014, played in all 16 games with five starts in 2015. He finished with 35 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

The suspension was announced Friday.

This will be the second consecutive season a Packers defensive lineman has started on the NFL’s suspended list. Last year, Letroy Guion missed the first three games due to an offseason arrest in Florida, and Datone Jones was suspended for the first game for violating the substance-abuse policy.

Pennel took Guion’s place in the starting lineup to open the season, then moved ahead of Guion in the rotation down the stretch, with two starts in the final four regular-season games.

The Packers recently re-signed Guion to a three-year contract, keeping the free agent from reaching the market. But starting nose tackle B.J. Raji is scheduled to be a free agent. Given the possibility of Raji departing, the Packers could be short on numbers at a position group in which only starter Mike Daniels, backups Jones and Josh Boyd - who spent almost all of last season on injured reserve - and three returning practice-squad players are under contract.

Pennel, who will be entering his final season under contract, is eligible to participate in offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason games.

The Packers did not comment.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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