By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
Bruce Irvin, one of only two West Virginia University defensive linemen ever to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft, will miss the first four games of the 2014 National Football League season because of a failed test for performance-enhancing drugs.
Irvin, selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 15th pick of the 2012 draft, did not deny the offense and said he would accept the four-game suspension without appeal.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake when I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption. I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions,” Irvin said in the statement.
“I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again,” Irvin continued in his statement. “I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return.”
Seattle has experience dealing with such violations by defensive players.
The Seahawks played four games late last season without starting cornerback Brandon Browner after he tested positive for Adderall, which is considered a banned substance without a medical prescription. Cornerback Richard Sherman won an appeal for his own four-game suspension for a positive test for Adderall.
It was not stated which drug Irvin tested positive for using.
Irvin, who played two seasons at WVU after a troubled youth around Stone Mountain, Ga., and two years of junior college football, was a surprise first-round pick by Seattle. He did not start as a rookie but was part of the Seahawks’ defensive line rotation and recorded eight sacks.
Irvin was expected to contend for a starting job this summer in training camp. He will be allowed to participate in offseason workouts and training camp before starting his suspension the first week of the regular season.
Irvin will miss games against the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans.
Irvin expressed deep disappointment in his actions in a tweet that he posted later in the evening.
“It’s crazy to see your name run across the ticker for negative things. I messed up and I feel so bad and have been depressed for weeks now. I’ve had sleepless nights because I knew when this came out, I would let so many people down, including myself. I have worked so hard to rebuild my image and it takes another blow. I see the negative comments and the positive and both drive me to come back and have an incredible season.”
Irvin also had words for is West Virginia fans.
“12th man, I’m sorry I let you down but I promise you when I come back — all hell will break loose. West Virginia, I love you always and know you have my back and always will. Love on my fans and shout out to my haters — I know you loving it right now!”
The only other WVU defensive lineman to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft was Renaldo Turnbull, picked by the New Orleans Saints in 1990 with the 14th selection.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.