Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence faces a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, a source confirmed.
Lawrence has appealed, and he and the Cowboys await a final verdict. But the team is preparing for the third-year pro to miss the first four games of the 2016 season.
The Cowboys are left with an even bigger need at defensive end. Many mock drafts have the Cowboys taking defensive end Joey Bosa with the fourth pick overall.
A four-game suspension means Lawrence already served a four-game fine after an initial positive test.
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ChatSports first reported Lawrence’s pending suspension, saying Lawrence tested positive for amphetamines.
Lawrence won’t be the only Dallas player watching on TV as the Cowboys begin the season.
Earlier this off-season, the NFL notified defensive end Randy Gregory that he will miss the first four games of the regular-season for violating the substance abuse policy.
That leaves the Cowboys with an even bigger need at defensive end. They had only 31 sacks last season as a team as it was, with defensive ends contributing only 18. Lawrence led the team with eight in a breakout second season.
The Cowboys signed restricted free agent Benson Mayowa from the Oakland Raiders and re-signed Jack Crawford. But they still are thin at defensive end, which could make their decision for them with the No. 4 overall choice.
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Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa likely will be available when Dallas drafts. The position he plays make him a bigger need for the Cowboys than cornerback Jalen Ramsey or running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Dallas Cowboys 2016 schedule
Sun., Sept. 11 vs. NY Giants (Fox) 3:25 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 18 @ Washington (Fox) Noon
Sun., Sept. 25 Chicago (NBC) 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 2 @ San Francisco (Fox) 3:25 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 9 Cincinnati (CBS) 3:25 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 16 @ Green Bay (Fox) 3:25 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 23 Bye
Sun., Oct. 30 Philadelphia (NBC) 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 6 @ Cleveland (Fox) Noon
Sun., Nov. 13 @ Pittsburgh (Fox) 3:25 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 20 Baltimore (CBS) Noon
Thurs., Nov. 24 Washington (Fox) 3:30 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 1 @ Minnesota (NBC/NFL Network/Twitter) 7:25 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 11 @ NY Giants (NBC) 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 18 Tampa Bay (FOX) Noon
Mon., Dec. 26 Detroit (ESPN) 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 1 Philadelphia (Fox) Noon