New England Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham has been suspended by the NFL for four games without pay for violating its policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The league's announcement Monday did not specify the substance. The Patriots had no immediate reaction.
Cunningham, a 2010 second-round draft pick from Florida, can return to the active roster on Dec. 24, one day after the Patriots play at Jacksonville. He had a season-high six tackles in his only start in last Thursday's 49-19 win at the New York Jets.
He started in place of rookie Chandler Jones, out with an ankle injury.
New England visits Miami on Sunday. Patriots rookie running back Brandon Bolden's four-game suspension for violating the same NFL policy ends after that game.