Panthers backup defensive tackle Andre Neblett has been suspended for the first four regular-season games for violating the NFLs policy on performance-enhancing substances, the league announced Wednesday.
Neblett, a third-year player who was an undrafted free agent out of Temple in 2010, will forfeit $135,000, a fourth of his salary, while serving the suspension.
The first violation of the leagues policy on performance-enhancing substances triggers a four-game suspension without pay.
Neblett can participate in the teams preseason practices and games, and will be eligible to return Oct. 1 before the teams Week 5 game against Seattle.
Attempts to reach Neblett through his agent, Tony Paige, were unsuccessful. The Panthers are not allowed to comment on the suspension.
Neblett, who is 6-feet tall and weighs 295 pounds, started four games late last season after rookie starters Sione Fua and Terrell McClain were injured. Neblett finished with 23 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 12 games.
Neblett was inactive for three games early in the year, and missed the final game at New Orleans with a head injury.
Neblett is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation at defensive tackle that includes McClain, Fua, Frank Kearse and 2011 free agent acquisition Ron Edwards, who did not play a snap last season after tearing his triceps during his first training camp practice.
The Panthers did not draft a defensive tackle this year amid calls from outside the organization to take one. They added undrafted free agent Nate Chandler, and also have veteran Ogemdi Nwagbuo on the roster.