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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller's latest off-the-field stumble has gotten the team's attention, especially since it came when he is currently under the guidelines of a six-game suspension.
Miller is one game into his suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and on Wednesday team officials were privately wrestling with the revelation that Miller was cited last week for driving without a license and speeding.
Obviously we're not happy about it. Everybody here has an individual responsibility, not only to themselves, but to this organization, to this football team, so it's something we're not pleased about. We'll leave it at that.” -- John Fox, on Von Miller's traffic citation
"Obviously we're not happy about it. Everybody here has an individual responsibility, not only to themselves, but to this organization, to this football team, so it's something we're not pleased about. We'll leave it at that," Broncos coach John Fox said Wednesday.
Multiple sources said Wednesday they believed Miller had been cited after he had returned from meeting with NFL Players Association officials about his suspension. Miller was meeting with union attorneys to discuss the Broncos' intention to reclaim about $1.25 million worth of signing bonus money because of the suspension. The team plans to simply withhold the money from Miller's game checks when he is slated to be paid again in Week 7 -- and the NFLPA is set to battle that decision.
CBS4 Denver first reported Miller's latest traffic citations. Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson told the station that Miller was with his father, Von Sr., and allowed to go home. The elder Miller was seen picking his son up from the Broncos' complex late Wednesday morning.
Another traffic violation surfaced late Wednesday when the Denver Post and CBS11 in Dallas reported that Miller has an open warrant for a March 2012 arrest in California. A spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office said Miller has a warrant for failure to appear on the traffic ticket.
Miller's agent Thursday disputed reports that his embattled client had defaulted on the speeding ticket in Orange County. The agent, Joby Branion, said the ticket was paid and case closed more than a year ago. And the spokesperson for the Orange County DA's office who had spoken with reporters Wednesday tells ESPN she does not believe a warrant was ever issued.
Miller's attorney, Mark Schamel, denied there is an arrest warrant and told ESPN's Josina Anderson the matter regarding the speeding ticket will be cleared up Thursday morning.
During his suspension Miller can attend meetings and use the team's weight room, but he cannot attend practices or games.
There was some concern when Miller's latest citations became public that it could warrant additional punishment under the league's conduct policy because Miller was arrested in August on a failure-to-appear warrant.
|Von Miller, who is serving a six-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, reportedly was cited last week for driving without a license and speeding near his home.|
Asked Wednesday if he thought Miller's suspension would be increased, Fox said: "You'd have to ask the commissioner that.''
ESPN Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen reported later Wednesday that the NFL will not increase Miller's suspension.
Miller's August arrest occurred when he was trying to purchase a firearm at a gun range/store near the Broncos' complex in south suburban Denver, while he was preparing for an appeal hearing for his current suspension. A mandatory background check revealed he had an outstanding warrant, and Miller was arrested at the store. He had failed to appear for a court date that stemmed from multiple citations last October for careless driving, driving without a license and not having proof of insurance. His original court date had been Dec. 31.
In his latest stop, police discovered Miller's license had already been suspended when a computer check for outstanding warrants was again done. And while traffic violations alone wouldn't usually draw attention under the league's conduct policy, the policy does cover pattern behavior and allows the commissioner to impose discipline at his discretion. The policy states discipline is a possibility for "conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players."
Goodell also doesn't have to wait for a conviction or public admission of guilt from a player or league official to invoke the policy. To that end, the policy reads: "It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. Instead, as an employee of the NFL or a member club, you are held to a higher standard and expected to conduct yourself in a way that is responsible, promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful."
When it comes to the Broncos, there is already precedent for a substance-abuse suspension paired with a personal conduct suspension. Last season, linebacker D.J. Williams was suspended six games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and Goodell added three games for violating the personal conduct policy with multiple DUI-related arrests several years apart.
Williams had been originally charged with driving under the influence in November 2010, but a jury returned a conviction on a lesser charge. He was also convicted of driving without headlights. In 2005, Williams had pleaded guilty to impaired driving.
Miller has little wiggle room when it comes to off-the-field conduct. He is currently in Stage 3 of the league's substance-abuse program, and according to the policy, he will always be in Stage 3. That means random testing up to 10 times a month for the remainder of his NFL career and the next suspension is, at minimum, for a calendar year.
Miller was named to the Pro Bowl after each of his first two seasons, and last year he set a franchise record with 18.5 sacks.