The Seahawks are Super Bowl contenders heading into the 2013 season, but they'll have to begin their pursuit of the franchise's first NFL title without the services of pass rusher Bruce Irvin.
The second-year defensive end was suspended by the NFL for the first four games. Irvin was suspended under the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy, although the specific substance he tested positive for was not named.
Irvin will miss games against the Panthers, 49ers, Jaguars and Texans.
"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," Irvin said in a statement released by the team. "I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. 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. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return."
Irvin is the latest Seahawks player to be suspended. He joins John Moffitt, Allen Barbre, Winston Guy and Brandon Browner as Seattle players suspended since 2011. Cornerback Richard Sherman successfully appealed a suspension last year.
Irvin's absence makes the signing of defensive end Cliff Avril that much more important. Avril, a former Lions standout, was one of the team's free agent acquisitions in March. The Seahawks might also be without pass rusher Chris Clemons, who is still recovering from a torn ACL.