LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the league announced Monday.
Ratliff, who won't appeal the penalty, is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and preseason games, but he will miss regular-season games against the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks before he can return to the Bears' active roster on Sept. 28.
He pleaded guilty on April 30 to a DWI charge that stemmed from a 2013 arrest in Grapevine, Texas.
"This was about what ... two, three years ago. That's all behind me," Ratliff said Monday. "This is the result of it. Just moving forward from here.
"We've been down his road with the NFL and they don't care to hear it. So be it."
Ratliff, who was then a member of the Dallas Cowboys, was arrested in the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 2013, after he crashed his pickup truck into an 18-wheeler. After a search warrant for his blood was issued more than two hours later, tests determined that Ratliff's blood alcohol level was 0.16 -- more than twice the legal limit -- according to Grapevine police.
"It's something we've known about for a while. It happened a couple years ago, it's not a new incident, it's not breaking news," Bears coach John Fox said Monday. "So it was just a matter of time and just like anyone else, it'll be next man up. We'll always be looking to improve the roster, but for the short term, I think we'll do it from within."
Ratliff said Monday that he the suspension isn't "going to change anything for me" and that it's "all about getting better at this point and time."
"I actually kind of forgot about it," Ratliff said of the NFL ruling. "Well, today, here it is. Everything is fine. Everything is good. I'm good. We all knew this was coming. We had a good plan. It's kind of a next-man-up mentality."
Ratliff, a four-time Pro Bowl selection with the Cowboys, had 6.5 sacks last season for the Bears and is under contract through the 2015 season. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio recently called Ratliff the club's top defensive lineman entering this season.