FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2015, file photo, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) heads to the field before playing the Miami Dolphins in an NFL football game, in Orchard Park, N.Y. A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press
Bill Wippert, File
August 21, 2016

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said his four-game NFL suspension is the result of a missed drug test.

The Bills top-paid player revealed the reason for the discipline after practice Wednesday, a day after he was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy for a second consecutive year.

Dareus said he was notified by the league of the suspension following Buffalo's preseason 19-18 loss to Indianapolis on Saturday.

Dareus said he apologized to his teammates and feels embarrassed about the second suspension.

''I really don't have much to say. Words don't mean anything now,'' Dareus said. ''It's all action. And that's all I'm going to do. I'm going to come back and do the best I can.''

General manager Doug Whaley told The Associated Press he's frustrated and disappointed, but adds the team is going to stick by Dareus because ''he's family.''

However, Whaley says Dareus must ''start holding up his end of the bargain.''

Dareus will miss the first four games of the season and isn't eligible to rejoin the team until Oct. 3, a day after Buffalo plays at New England. He's a two-time Pro Bowl selection and has been a starter since Buffalo drafted him with the No. 3 pick in 2011.

Under NFL rules, missing a test is the same as testing positive.

Last year, Dareus sat out Buffalo's season opener to serve a one-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. He had been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia after being stopped by Alabama State Police in May 2014.

Dareus avoided trial, during which he would have faced felony drug charges, by agreeing to enter an NFL substance abuse program.

Coach Rex Ryan said Dareus must make better choices with his life and understand that his actions impact the team.

''We all care a great deal for Marcell,'' Ryan said. ''We want to see this be a thing that's behind him once and for all, that this never happens again to him.''

Dareus' suspension represents another blow to a defense that has already been thinned by injury.

Rookie first-round pick, outside linebacker Shaq Lawson, had shoulder surgery in May and will miss at least the first month of the season. And second-round pick, inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, will miss the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee 10 days ago.

Both were projected to start.

Dareus becomes Buffalo's second player to earn a four-game suspension to open this season. Last month, the NFL issued backup running back Karlos Williams had a similar suspension for violating the substance abuse policy.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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