GREEN BAY - Defensive tackle Mike Pennel will serve a four-game suspension to close the Green Bay Packers' regular season for a second violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy, but is eligible to return for any postseason games, PackersNews confirmed Tuesday.
Pennel's suspension was first reported by NFL Network, and was announced by the NFL late Tuesday afternoon.
It will be Pennel's second four-game suspension this season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. The Packers' third-year defensive tackle also missed the season's first four games.
Pennel resolved a lawsuit filed in Ohio federal court earlier this week asking the NFL to appoint a third arbitrator for his disciplinary hearing, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Pennel could have been suspended between six to 10 games for a second violation, according to the league's bylaws.
Pennel alleged in court documents the league and general counsel “failed to abide by the arbitrator selection and assignment provisions and procedure set forth in the attached arbitration agreement” after learning about his suspension Nov. 8. He asked that his disciplinary hearing be delayed until a third arbitrator joined.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he was first made aware of the lawsuit one week ago.
“That’s a league legal issue,” McCarthy said, “and I really don’t have a comment on it.”
Pennel was expected to be a starter this season, but hasn’t recovered from missing time from his early suspension and has only five tackles in eight games. He had a tackle for loss Sunday against the Houston Texans.