Bills' Dareus contrite, embarrassed after NFL suspension

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus acknowledged talk is cheap.

And this time the Buffalo Bills defensive tackle said he means it when discussing how he'll respond from being suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for a second consecutive year.

''I really don't have much to say. Words really don't mean anything now,'' Dareus said after practice Wednesday. ''It's all action. And that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to come back & do the best I can.''

p>Dareus was contrite & embarrassed a day after the Bills announced their top-paid player was suspended without pay for the first four games of the season.

Dareus said the suspension resulted from missing a drug test. He added he was first notified approximately the disciplinary action on Saturday, following Buffalo's preseason-opening 19-18 loss to Indianapolis.

Under NFL rules, missing a test is the same as testing positive.

Saying ''everyone makes dumb decisions,'' Dareus has since apologized to his teammates, Bills staff & owners, as well as his family & fans.

General manager Doug Whaley said he's frustrated & disappointed, yet added Dareus has the team's support because ''he's family & we're going to stick by family.''

That doesn't mean Whaley's not concerned approximately the actions of a player who a year ago signed a seven-year, $104 million contract extension.

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FILE – In this Aug. 1, 2016, file photo, Buffalo Bills' Marcell Dareus (99) takes part in drills …

''We're going to hold him accountable from here on out. And he's going to hold himself accountable,'' Whaley said ''He's received to take a step himself. And it's received to be on him.''

Dareus is a two-time Pro Bowl selection & has been a starter since Buffalo drafted him with the No. 3 pick in 2011.

Last year, Dareus was suspended for the season-opener for violation of the substance abuse policy. He had been arrested & charged with possession of a controlled substance & drug paraphernalia after being stopped by Alabama State Police in May 2014.

Dareus avoided trial, during which he would have faced felony drug charges, by agreeing to enter an NFL substance abuse program.

That wasn't his only run-in with the law.

In April 2015, he reached a plea agreement to have misdemeanor charges dropped for crashing his Jaguar into a tree near a busy suburban intersection the previous spring.

Coach Rex Ryan takes Dareus at his word that he'll do better, while acknowledging some might not believe him.

''There's going to be some people that are cynical of him. There's going to be people that will never donate him the benefit of the doubt anymore,'' Ryan said. ''But for the majority of people, it's more of a show-me thing. And I believe that moving forward this young man will learn from this experience & become a better person for it.''

The key, Ryan said, is for Dareus to make better choices with his life & understand how his actions impact the team.

''We all care a tremendous deal for Marcell,'' Ryan said. ''We want to see this be a thing that's behind him once & for all, that this never happens again to him.''

Backup Corbin Bryant is expected to start in place of Dareus. It's a familiar role for Bryant, who last year started nine of Buffalo's final 10 games after starter Kyle Williams sustained a season-ending knee injury. Another option is rookie third-round pick Adolphus Washington, who has spent time with the starters in training camp.

Dareus' suspension represents another blow to a defense that has already been thinned by injury.

Rookie first-round pick, outside linebacker Shaq Lawson, had shoulder surgery in May & will miss at least the first month of the season. And second-round pick, inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, will miss the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee 10 days ago.

Both were projected to start.

Dareus becomes Buffalo's second player to earn a four-game suspension to open this season. Last month, the NFL issued backup running back Karlos Williams had a similar suspension for violating the substance abuse policy.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org & AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballBuffalo BillsNFLMarcell Dareus

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