NFL suspends Carter for one year

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The Independent Online

Denver Broncos cornerback Dale Carter has been suspended by the National Football League for one year for violating the the substance-abuse policy.

The NFL handed down its ruling today, rejecting Carter's appeal, which was made at a lengthy hearing on April 5.

The league said Carter will be eligible for reinstatement next February, following the 2000 season.

Already a two-time offender of the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Carter is believed to have missed at least two drug tests during January and February. The NFL declined to comment specifically on Carter's case.

Carter's agent, Mitch Frankel, insisted that Carter did not fail any recent drug tests. However, the NFL counts a missed test the same as a failed test.

Carter, 30, stands to lose $3.5 million in base salary, and he might also have to reimburse the Broncos a prorated portion of his $7.8 million signing bonus.

The suspension likely means Carter's career with the Broncos is over. Because of the pending suspension, the Broncos selected Deltha O'Neal of California in the first round of the NFL draft 10 days ago.

The team also signed three free-agent cornerbacks in the off-season - Jeremy Lincoln, Jimmy Spencer and Darryl Pounds - who will compete with holdover backup Chris Watson.

The Broncos signed Carter, one of the league's best cover corners, to a lucrative free-agent contract in 1999. Joining Ray Crockett, Carter was expected to give Denver one of the league's best cornerback tandems, but Carter struggled throughout the 1999 season.

Before coming to Denver, Carter played seven years with the Kansas City Chiefs and was selected to four Pro Bowls.

When the Denver Post reported last month that Carter faced a one-year suspension if his appeal was denied, several teammates criticised Carter for partying too much and having a bad temper.

Carter has a reputation for excessive hard tackling, including accusations of cheap shots and headhunting.