71 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys cornenrback Orlando Scandrick said the words Tuesday so few of his fellow players utter after getting caught for breaking NFL rules: I'm sorry.

Scandrick was bracing for Monday's announcement that he would be suspended four games for a violation of the league's performance enhancing drug policy. He'd been worried ever since submitting a drug test when he returned from a vacation in April. During that trip, he took an amphetamine that is included on the league's banned substance list.

"I'm responsible for what goes in my body," Scandrick said. "I'm very sorry. I apologize to the Jones family. I'm very sorry to my teammates. I'm sorry to the fans of Cowboy Nation. I'm very sorry to my family."

Scandrick, speaking to reporters after the Cowboys' walk-through Tuesday morning, said he was not drugged or coerced into taking the amphetamine. He declined to specifically say what he took, but said it was done "recreationally." Amphetamines like Adderall, Ritalin and a party drug called Molly — a pure form of ecstasy — are banned under the NFL's PED policy, and not the substance abuse policy.

"In no way, form or shape was this trying to gain a competitive edge. I simply made a mistake. It was just a dumb mistake," Scandrick, who appealed the suspension but said Tuesday he was not expecting to win.

He and the Cowboys were informed Monday that he would, indeed, miss the first four games of the season.

It's certainly another setback for the Cowboys to lose one of their top corners and defensive leaders. Scandrick has been practicing with the starters and will likely be the team's nickelback in the regular season. Projected starting cornerbacks Brandon Carr (personal reasons) and Morris Claiborne (knee) have not been practicing lately, leaving the Cowboys especially thin on a unit that's also lost linebacker Sean Lee (torn knee ligament) for the season and likely won't have rookie pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence (broken foot) any time soon.

Dallas coach Jason Garrett said Scandrick, who can remain with the team throughout preseason, will continue to work with the starters this week as the team holds the first of two joint practices with the Oakland Raiders. Other corners like veteran Sterling Moore, second-year player B.W. Webb and rookie Terrance Mitchell will get added work as the Cowboys try to find Scandrick's replacement.

"We're very mindful of what the situation is," Garrett said.

Scandrick met with Garrett and addressed the suspension with his teammates Monday. Scandrick apologized and offered advice to his teammates in hopes they would learn from his failure.

"You have to do all the right things, even when you think no one is looking," Scandrick said. "Don't take anything that you think is a drug. You're not supposed to use drugs, regardless of if you think you don't think you're going to test positive."

***

Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones

PHOTOS: NFL player suspensions

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
71 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/VjhwRk