(Reuters) - Chicago Bears veteran defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff has been suspended for the first three games of the regular season for violating the National Football League’s substance abuse policy, the league said on Monday.
The suspension stems from Ratliff's pleading guilty in May to a 2013 drunken driving charge.
Ratliff, 33, will not be eligible to return to regular season practices until Monday, Sept. 28 after the team's third game of the year, which is against the Seattle Seahawks.
Ratliff pleaded guilty to drunken driving after crashing his pick-up truck into an 18-wheeler during the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 2013, in Grapevine, Texas.
Police said tests determined that Ratliff's blood-alcohol level was at .16 -- more than twice the legal limit. The former seventh-round draft pick in 2005 was given one year of probation and fined $750.
Ratliff, a four-time Pro Bowler, was a member of the Dallas Cowboys at the time of the accident. He spent nine seasons with the Cowboys and joined the Bears midway through the 2013 season.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington)