Jackson suspended for first four games

Tanard Jackson (Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers confirmed the suspension of S Tanard Jackson, who will miss the first four games of the 2009 season.

According to a statement by an NFL spokesperson, Buccaneers starting free safety Tanard Jackson has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for undisclosed violation of the NFL Substance Abuse Policy. Tampa Bay General Manager Mark Dominik confirmed the suspension.

Jackson will begin serving his suspension on Saturday, Sept. 5, and will be eligible to return to the active roster on Monday, Oct. 5. Jackson will not appeal the suspension.

Jackson is allowed to participate in all preseason games and practices, but must stay away from the team during the regular season until his suspension runs out.

During Jackson's suspension, the team is allowed to use the roster space to sign another player. This could give another young player an extended stay in Tampa Bay and more opportunities to impress the coaching staff.

This also means that LB Jermaine Phillips could see more action at his old position this week and in the weeks to follow unless Will Allen can claim the job in the interim.

Jackson became an instant fan favorite in Tampa after becoming the first defensive player in team history to begin his career with 32 consecutive starts. He ranked fourth on the team in 2008 with 102 tackles while being ranked third in special teams tackles with 18.

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