Three-year veteran defensive end Jared Allen, the Kansas City Chiefs' outstanding young pass rusher, has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2007 season for repeat violations of the league's substance abuse policy.
The suspension was first reported by The Kansas City Star on Friday afternoon. Allen was apprised of the league sanctions earlier in the day. The Chiefs had anticipated league sanctions against the defensive end.
Allen, 25, was twice charged with DUI in the past year.
"I'm sorry my actions of last year will affect my teammates, coaches and fans," Allen told the Star. "I have definitely learned from my mistakes and am glad to finally put this entire thing behind me once and for all. I will be with the Chiefs this year and will do everything I can to help bring a championship to the great fans of K.C."
Allen pleaded no contest to the most recent charges and entered a diversion program to resolve the first DUI incident. Chiefs officials privately acknowledged at last month's NFL meetings in Phoenix that Allen probably faced action by the league because of the DUIs.
A fourth-round choice in the 2004 draft, Allen has developed into one of the league's top young sack threats. The former Idaho State standout has 165 tackles, 27½ sacks, 10 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, one interception and 15 passes defensed in 47 appearances and 41 starts. Allen has an explosive first step and combines with that a relentless drive to get to the quarterback.
Notable in the statement he made to the Star is Allen's contention that he will "be with the Chiefs this year" since he indicated as recently as February that he wanted to be traded. The Chiefs tendered Allen, a restricted free agent, the highest-level qualifying offer, essentially a one-year deal worth $2.35 million.
He has yet to sign the tender and the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams has expired. That all but assures that Allen, who can no longer negotiate with other clubs, will return to Kansas City, unless the Chiefs trade him. Allen could sign the one-year tender and, absent an extension to it, would be eligible for unrestricted free agency next spring. His unhappiness earlier this year stemmed from the inability of the two sides to strike a long-term contract.
Allen said in February he was "shocked and hurt" by the lack of progress toward a long-term deal. With the suspension, the Chiefs might be reluctant to discuss a long-term contract. Team president Carl Peterson allowed in February that the DUI charges played a role in the Chiefs' negotiating stance with their standout defensive end.
Peterson emphasized at the time that he wanted Allen on the team, calling him "a very good football player," but also termed him "a young man at risk."
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.