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AP Source: Broncos' Miller faces 4-game suspension

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-07-22 13:35

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - The Denver Broncos are heading into their self-proclaimed ``Super Bowl or Bust'' season with a series of busts.

A person with knowledge of the situation said on Monday that Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller, the heart of Denver's dominant defense, will miss the first month of the season for violating the NFL's drug policy, pending an appeal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league hasn't announced any punishment. ESPN first reported the pending discipline of Miller, who didn't answer calls or respond to texts to his cellphone from the AP on Monday.

The league has a confidentiality clause on such cases. Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth said the team is unable to provide any comment.

Word of Miller's trouble comes one week after the Broncos suspended the top two assistants to Executive Vice President John Elway - Matt Russell and Tom Heckert - after their arrests on drunken driving charges, depriving the team of its top personnel men at a time when personnel decisions are paramount.

The Broncos, among this summer's trendy Super Bowl picks, report to training camp Wednesday. Miller will be able to participate in all of the workouts but he'd have to leave the team after its final preseason game on Aug. 29 if a suspension is upheld and he wouldn't be able to return to the team until Sept. 30.

Miller was the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2011 with 11 1/2 sacks and he topped that last season with a franchise-record 18 1/2 sacks while making it to his second straight Pro Bowl.

Denver's defense was ranked second in the NFL last season and was spearheaded by the pass-rushing duo of Miller and Elvis Dumervil, who had 11 sacks but bolted to Baltimore this spring after a deadline fax fiasco made him an unexpected free agent.

Now, the Broncos face the prospect of also being without Miller for the first month of the season. The Broncos kick things off Sept. 5 at home against Dumervil and the Super Bowl champion Ravens, then visit the New York Giants before home games against Oakland and Philadelphia.

Miller set the bar high for the Broncos this offseason when he pulled a Joe Namath in March and guaranteed a Super Bowl title. He dedicated the season to his 6-year-old cousin who had just emerged from a coma after a car accident in West Texas that also injured his mother and 8-year-old brother.

``Guaranteeing it wasn't fueled out of being cocky or anything like that,'' Miller said at the time. ``I actually feel like what else is there? What else is there for the type of team that we have and the type of guys that we've got in the locker room?''

Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady last week reiterated that nothing less than a title will be sufficient in Denver this year when he said, ``I think this is a big year for us as a team. We definitely have a lot of expectations: Super Bowl or bust, for the most part.''

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Online: www.pro32.ap.org

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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed. Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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