DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Von Miller is practicing with the Denver Broncos as a new report suggests the All-Pro linebacker could be facing an even longer suspension than originally thought.
ESPN, citing people it didn’t identify, reported that Miller might have to sit out at least six games for violating the league’s drug-abuse policy. In that case, Miller’s earliest possible game would be Oct. 20 at Indianapolis.
Previously, it was believed Miller was facing a possible month-long suspension to start the 2013 season. Miller had repeatedly expressed confidence he was going to successfully win an appeal of that penalty, insisting he had “done nothing wrong.”
“It compounds the bad news,” CBS4’s Vic Lombardi said on CBS4 News at Noon. “We all knew a suspension was looming. We all assumed it was just a four game suspension. Now to have the thought of two more games on top of four suggests that there were other either failed tests or not completed tests — something wrong in the process there to add even more games to the suspension.”
“I would be surprised at this point if he gets off the hook all together,” Lombardi said.
Miller now is unlikely to go forward with an appeal, which was expected to be heard Tuesday, ESPN reported.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press, “We have nothing to report” on the matter, and Miller’s agent, Joby Branion, didn’t return a phone call from the AP.
Miller, who has 30 sacks in his first two NFL seasons, is the fulcrum of coordinator Jack Del Rio’s defense in Denver, consistently commanding double teams. He’s a major reason, along with Peyton Manning, that oddsmakers favor the Broncos to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Miller missed practice last Thursday to huddle with lawyers, and has been able to put aside the specter of a suspension while having a terrific training camp.
His off-the-field troubles were compounded earlier this month, though, when he was arrested for failing to appear in court for traffic violations last fall, something he apologized for following Denver’s 40-10 preseason loss at Seattle on Saturday night.
That arrest, however, is not relevant to the drug case.
Miller would be allowed to practice with the Broncos and play in their last two exhibition games if he’s suspended. He would have to leave the team on Aug. 30.
The Broncos play four of their first six games at home, against Baltimore, Oakland, Philadelphia and Jacksonville. They also visit the Giants and Cowboys during that span.
If Miller misses the first game of the season for the Broncos — a home game against the Ravens on Sept. 5 — the Broncos could be without two of their defensive stars. Champ Bailey is expected to be out for a few weeks with a severe ankle sprain.
Late Monday afternoon CBS4 also learned Miller is on the list of potential witnesses for the multiple-homicide at Fero’s Bar and Grill in Denver.
Five people were stabbed to death and the bar was set on fire to cover up the crime. Two men have pleaded guilty for their roles in the crime and now prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a third suspect, Dexter Lewis. Miller is listed as a potential acquaintance of Lewis.
A spokesman for the Broncos says the team is aware of the situation but says Miller has “zero direct involvement in the case.”
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