Bucs S Tanard Jackson suspended four games for substance abuse violation
UPDATE, 7:33 p.m.: Tanard Jackson addressed the media after this evening's practice. Read the details here.
4:49 p.m.: General manager Mark Dominik just revealed starting free safety Tanard Jackson has been suspended without pay for four games by the NFL.
The suspension stems from an undisclosed vioation of the league's substance-abuse policy. Jackson will miss the first four games of the regular season and can return for the Oct. 11 game at the Eagles.
Jackson has started all 32 games since joining the Bucs as a fourth-round pick in 2007.
It's a major hit to the Bucs' defense, general manager Mark Dominik said.
"He's a good young player so it's a blow to his team," Dominik said. "Hopefully, we'll just move forward like we normally would with anything else."
Dominik said Jackson is not appealing the decision, announced just a while ago by the NFL.
Jackson can continue to practice and take part in preseason games. But once the suspension takes effect on September 5, Jackson may not practice with the team.
Dominik said he could not comment specifically on the nature of Jackson's violation, but the league's substance-abuse policy addresses mostly narcotics and alcohol abuse. Steroids are governed under a separate policy.
But pursuant to the league policy, players are not suspended under the Substance Abuse Policy until they reach Stage 2 of the "intervention program." That means Jackson likely failed to comply with the terms imposed upon him while in Stage 1. The terms can include counseling and additional testing.
The Bucs will not immediately address the loss with a roster move, Dominik said. Instead, the team will continue to evaluate its group of safeties and likely use veteran Will Allen in a greater capacity. Converted safety Jermaine Phillips, who ironically took a few snaps at his old position this morning, will continue to do that and provides the team a contingency plan should it sustain an injury at safety.