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David Irving suspended first four games for substance abuse

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Dallas Cowboys

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: David Irving #95 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after sacking Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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The NFL has suspended Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving the first four games of the season for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Irving sat out the first four games last season for violation of the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy. It marks the fifth consecutive season the Cowboys will begin the year with a defensive starter suspended. DeMarcus Lawrence, Orlando Scandrick, Rolando McClain, Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory also have served suspensions since 2014.

Unless Irving wins his appeal, the first game he is eligible to play is October 7 at Houston.

Irving signed a one-year, $2.91 million tender as a restricted free agent.

He missed most of the team’s offseason program while attending to his off-field problems, including a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend, who made and recanted domestic violence claims.

“I’ve been through a lot,” Irving said Thursday. “I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I got my daughter. It’s just me and her. That means it’s no stress really. Have a good relaxing day with the person that loves me the most, the person I love the most. It’s going to be good.”