OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the NFLs drug policy, owner Jerry Jones said Monday night.The NFL confirmed on Tuesday that Scandrick has been suspended for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. Scandrick will be eligible to return to the Cowboys active roster on Monday, September 29 following the teams September 28 game against the New Orleans Saints. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.Scandrick said he has been fighting the ban since April and lost his appeal.Per a source, Scandrick was banned for having a street drug in his system.The cornerback believes something was put in his drink when he was on vacation.I would like to apologize to my children, my family, the Jones family, my coaches, my teammates and my fans, Scandrick said in a statement. Failing a drug test is far out of my character, and although I never knowingly took a performance-enhancing drug/banned stimulant while on vacation in Mexico, I take full responsibility for what goes in my body and more importantly for the embarrassment of a failed drug test.Its my goal by issuing this statement to clear my name and more importantly to be judged by what happens to me in the future. I hope that my family, my Cowboys football family and all my fans can forgive me for this situation. I look forward to a successful 2014 season.The incident is a huge setback for the Cowboys, considering Scandrick had been the teams best and most reliable cornerback dating to last season.Last season, Scandrick had career-best totals in tackles (70), pass breakups (15) and interceptions (2).He also grew to become the leader of the defense in training camp this season.It has been Scandrick who has set the tone for defense with chippy play daily in practice.Making the situation even more acute has been the absence of veteran cornerbacks Brandon Carr, out for the first two weeks of camp because of the death of his mother, and Mo Claiborne, who been out for more than a week with tendinitis.Carr returned to practice on Saturday and Claiborne is expected to practice fully on Tuesday. Scandrick signed a two-year contract extension last season, through the 2018 season, that extends a five-year, $25 million deal in 2011.
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760 Twitter: @clarencehilljr