Pittsburgh Steelers safety Damontae Kazee has been suspended for three games for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Kazee is on the injured reserve list and is ineligible to return to action before Week 5, so the suspension will result in him missing a maximum of one additional game.
Kazee had been the Steelers third safety behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds throughout training camp, but suffered a left arm injury in the final preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
He is expected to miss several weeks, and was placed on the injured reserve list on Sept. 1. He must spend at least four weeks on the IR list per NFL rules before being activated. He can serve his suspension while on IR. Kazee will not be paid while he is suspended.
The NFL does not reveal the specific reason for the suspension as part of the league’s substance abuse program, but does differentiate discipline for substances of abuse versus performance-enhancing substances. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six games of the 2022 season for violating the latter policy.
Kazee was a starter for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021 after signing there as a free agent. He recorded 52 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defended and a lot of forced fumbles.
A fifth-round pick for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, Kazee played sparingly as a rookie, but quickly moved into a starting role for Atlanta in his second season in 2018. That year, he set career highs in tackles with 82, passes defended with 10 and seven interceptions, which also led the NFL.
Tre Norwood has filled the role of the team’s third safety in Kazee’s absence, with special teamer Miles Killebrew also manning the position. Elijah Riley is on the team’s practice squad.
Los Angele Rams tight end Brycen Hopkins was also suspended by the league on Wednesday.