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Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick suspended four games for violating substance-abuse policy

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas gets face masked by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick

© USA Today Sports / Reuters

Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick apologized to his family, teammates and organization for failing a drug test that will force him to be suspended for the first four games of the season.

The NFL officially announced the suspension on Tuesday, a day after Dallas owner Jerry Jones first acknowledged the ban.

Scandrick said in a statement released by his agent, Ron Slavin, that he unknowingly took a substance while on vacation in Mexico that led to the positive test.

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"I take full responsibility for what goes in my body and more importantly for the embarrassment of a failed drug test," he said. "It's 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."

Slavin says he believes that if testing for human growth hormone was in place that Scandrick would have been subjected to the substance abuse policy and been warned instead of receiving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

"More than 80 missed games, millions of dollars in fines and bonus repayments have been issued because the NFLPA and NFL cannot come to an agreement," Slavin said. "The only people who are losing in this standoff are the players and fans."

Scandrick will be eligible to participate in exhibition games but will miss the first four games of the regular season. He can return after Dallas' game against New Orleans on Sept. 28.

Scandrick, who is going into his seventh season, became a starter last year when former top 10 pick Morris Claiborne struggled. Now Claiborne is battling tendinitis in his right knee and missed the preseason opener for the third time in his three seasons in Dallas.

Brandon Carr, the other starter, missed the first two weeks of camp to be with his mother in the final days of her battle against breast cancer. He might only play one preseason game but is expected to be ready for the regular season.

Sterling Moore, who played five games for Dallas last season, could get more playing time when Scandrick is sidelined.

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The Cowboys had to sign two defensive backs just to get through the preseason opener against the Chargers last week. They're likely to keep scouring the waiver wire, perhaps even looking for a veteran to give them depth while Scandrick is out.

B.W. Webb, a fourth-round pick last year, hasn't shown that he's ready to be a starter. Terrance Mitchell, a rookie seventh-round pick out of Oregon, could get a longer look while Scandrick is sidelined.

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