Third-year defensive end Frank Alexander has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the leagues substance abuse policy, the Carolina Panthers announced in a statement from the NFL on Friday.
The type of substance was not disclosed, per the NFL policy. Alexander will be eligible to return to the active roster on Sept. 29 following Carolinas away meeting with the Ravens.
Alexander can still participate in OTAs, training camp and preseason games.
The Panthers drafted Alexander out of Oklahoma in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Hes been a reserve for the team playing behind Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy for most of his career with six career starts.
Alexander had one sack last season and a 2 1/2-sack rookie season. He had been sliding down the depth chart since a strong start to his rookie year. Mario Addison is the teams primary backup at end, and Carolina brought in Alex Hall from the Canadian Football League this offseason.