The Denver Broncos will play the first 6 games of the 2013 season with one of their most pivotal defensive players on the bench. Linebacker Von Miller, 2011 AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, will be suspended for six games without pay. His suspension will begin after the team’s last preseason contest for violating the NFL’s substance abuse program.
Miller was one of the most disruptive defensive players in the NFL last season, racking up 18.5 sacks and finishing second in voting for Defensive Player of the Year. Now, Miller will miss several important early season match-ups, including the week one contest against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, where his outstanding play against the run would be needed to help contain game-changing running back Ray Rice.
For the Broncos, this is the second blow to a defensive unit that might have to deal with the loss of cornerback Champ Bailey, a pivotal veteran playmaker in their secondary. Bailey went down in the preseason with what has been categorized as a serious foot sprain and is listed week-to-week.