In news that first broke yesterday, Miami Dolphins defensive end Tony McDaniel has been suspended one game by the NFL for violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.
The suspension stems from a February incident which saw McDaniel arrested for domestic battery against his girlfriend at his residence in Broward County. He later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to attend counseling.
Assuming there is no appeal process forthcoming, McDaniel will sit out the Dolphins' Week Four contest against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.
A fifth-year reserve defensive end, the 6-foot-7, 305-pound McDaniel has recorded three tackles and two pass deflections in three games this season.
McDaniel is the first Dolphins player to be suspended during the 2010 season, though he is one of four members of the team arrested since the beginning of the calendar year. Running back Ronnie Brown and cornerback Will Allen were both arrested for DUI in the offseason, while Phillip Merling was booked and charged with aggravated battery against his pregnant girlfriend in May.
McDaniel is hardly a vital part of the Dolphins' defense, but this suspension definitely cuts into the depth at defensive end with starter Jared Odrick still recovering from a fractured fibula.
Odrick is reportedly out of a cast and is walking without aid, although he still has a slight limp. While it is possible he is able to practice this week, he appears a long shot to play against New England and might be better off waiting until after the Week Five bye to return to game action.
With McDaniel unavailable against the Patriots in Week Four, inexperienced youngsters Ryan Baker and Lionel Dotson will serve as integral backups to starting ends Kendall Langford and Randy Starks.
Neither player brings starting ability to the table, as Baker and Dotson combine for just 12 regular season games played (no starts) and seven career tackles.
The Dolphins will almost certainly add another body to the active roster before the upcoming game, although don't expect it to be veteran Marques Douglas, who was cut following the preseason.
More likely, one of the practice squad rookies—Clifton Geathers and Rob Rose—will probably earn a promotion and dress as the fifth defensive end against New England.
Both have spent time on the active roster, although Geathers was waived first, which means Rose is probably closer to seeing game action. The Dolphins could also use the upcoming week of practice as an audition between the two.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.