The NFL suspended Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Neal without pay Tuesday for the team’s first four games of the 2012 regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
In a statement, the NFL said Neal will be eligible to return to the Packers’ active roster on the day after the team’s fourth regular-season game. Neal is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
Neal’s agent did not immediately answer a request for comment. Neal’s Twitter account appeared to have been deleted.
Citing the ”confidentiality of the process,” a Packers spokesman said team officials would not comment on the situation.
Neal, a second-round pick out of Purdue in the 2010 NFL draft, has played in nine regular-season games and one playoff game over two seasons because of injuries. He has seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in those games.
The Packers were hoping for a big season from Neal in 2011 after they allowed Cullen Jenkins to leave as a free agent. But he hurt his knee during a non-contact drill in training camp and didn’t return until the Packers’ Nov. 20 victory over Tampa Bay.
Neal missed the first three games with an abdominal injury as a rookie in 2010, made his NFL debut in Week 4, then injured his right shoulder and was placed on injured reserve Oct. 26.