PITTSFORD, N.Y. — The NFL suspended Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, the team announced Tuesday.
Dareus is five-year starter since being selected with the No. 3 pick in the 2011 draft. Last year, the Bills signed him to the most expensive contract in team history, a seven-year deal that is potentially worth $104 million.
The suspension is the latest blow to Rex Ryan's revamped defense, which is depleted by injuries. And it is the latest in a series of on and off-field troubles for Dareus. He was suspended by the NFL for Buffalo's season opener last year for also violating the substance abuse policy.
Jones, Tagliabue on Hall ballot: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue were named finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 by the hall's contributor committee. The Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four seasons from 1992-95 after Jones bought the team in 1989 and fired Tom Landry. The 73-year-old also sparked a lawsuit from the NFL when he struck deals outside the league's revenue-sharing model. Tagliabue was commissioner from 1989-2006, when the NFL expanded from 28 to 32 teams and built 20 new stadiums. He helped negotiate a $25 billion TV deal in 2006.
PONDER JOINS 49ERS: The 49ers signed 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder, a former FSU standout, who last year spent training camp with the Raiders, to a one-year deal. Earlier in the day, the 49ers went through a short, sloppy practice with Blaine Gabbert and rookie Jeff Driskel, a former Gator, as the only healthy quarterbacks. That's because Thad Lewis (torn ACL) is lost for the season and Colin Kaepernick (fatigued throwing arm) has not attempted a practice pass in a week. Ponder, 28, hasn't appeared in an NFL game since October 2014 with the Vikings.
EAGLES-TITANS TRADE: The Eagles acquired wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham from the Titans for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly. Green-Beckham, a 2015 second-round pick, had 32 catches for 549 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. At 6 feet 5, 237 pounds, he becomes the Eagles' biggest target. Green-Beckham arrives with a checkered off-field history and having fallen out of favor with the Titans after one season. Kelly, a 2012 fifth-round pick, has 15 career starts with the Eagles.
DOLPHINS stadium name: The Dolphins and University of Miami football team's home field will feature a new name, Hard Rock Stadium, according to reports. It is the stadium's fourth corporate naming partner since the facility opened as Joe Robbie Stadium in 1987. The others: Pro Player, Land Shark and Sun Life.
FANS SUE LEAGUE: Four fans sued the NFL over the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame game in Canton that was canceled because of poor field conditions. The class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in northern Ohio on behalf of all the ticket holders who lost out. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also was named in the suit. Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented ticket holders for the 2011 Super Bowl who wound up without seats in Dallas, filed the breach-of-contract lawsuit. He said the hall's plan to only refund ticket prices was inadequate.
CHIEFS: Running back Jamaal Charles made his training camp debut. He was on the physically-unable-to-perform list the first three weeks of camp after having surgery last season for a torn ACL. It's not clear if he will play against the Rams on Saturday.
JETS: Despite growing concerns about a hamstring issue, running back Matt Forte is confident he'll play in the season opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 11. "I'll be available," Forte said. "Definitely."