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Lions safety Jayron Kearse suspended three games for violating NFL substance abuse policy

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Detroit Lions safety Jayron Kearse has been suspended the first three games of the regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. 

Kearse, a free-agent signing, is permitted to participate in all training camp practices. He will be allowed to return to the team's active roster on Monday, Sept. 28, following Detroit's Week 3 game at Arizona.

Jayron Kearse

In October of last year, Kearse was arrested and charged with five misdemeanors, including suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of a firearm without a permit.

In February, the 26-year-old Kearse pleaded guilty in to possessing a pistol in public without a permit and fourth-degree driving while intoxicated. He was sentenced to probation and community service. 

Lions coach Matt Patricia, during a Friday video conference, acknowledged the team anticipated the possibility of a suspension. 

"We were aware of the situation in free agency, obviously vetted the situation," Patricia said. "We talked with Jayron and felt comfortable with him and the situation. ... We knew it was something that was coming."

More: Lions' Justin Coleman, Isaac Nauta land on NFL's COVID-19 reserve list

A versatile defensive back, Kearse appeared in 15 games for the Minnesota Vikings last year, including three starts. He recorded 28 tackles and six pass defenses, while playing a critical role on special teams.

Even without Kearse, the Lions have solid depth at safety. The team is returning Tracy Walker, Will Harris and C.J. Moore from a year ago and added veteran Duron Harmon in an offseason trade.