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RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin said he "paid his debt to society" and he is ready to play after his four-week suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
"I can't explain how tough it was watching these guys for four weeks," Irvin said. "But I paid my debt to society and now it's time to get back to work. It was hard, but I got through it and I'm back.
"I learned we have a great team. But this was more about me learning from this experience and growing to be a better person, on and off the field."
When asked how it feels to be back, Irvin said: "My smile explains everything. It feels great. I'm ready to roll, man. I'm itching right now, a good way itching."
Irvin was Seattle's first-round draft pick last year out of West Virginia University. Some experts viewed it as a stretch by the Seahawks to take the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Irvin with the 15th overall pick, but he led all rookies last season with eight sacks and 19 quarterback hits.
However, Irvin's failed PED test this offseason meant he would miss the first four games of 2013.
"He's really excited to get back with us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's in good shape, he's healthy and he has worked really hard. He went back to West Virginia and worked out the whole time."
Irvin was asked why he decided to go back to West Virginia to work out during his suspension.
"I contributed a lot of money to that weight room," Irvin said, smiling. "So I felt like I should go back and use it. Being around those college kids, I tried tell them the truth -- 'I'm not there because I'm supposed to be there. I'm suspended.' But I got my work done and accomplished what I needed to do."
The Seahawks play on the road Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Irvin said he knows a lot about Colts quarterback Andrew Luck because Oliver Luck, Andrew's father, is the athletic director at West Virginia. Irvin was asked if Oliver Luck wanted him to go easy on his son this weekend.
"He can say that, but I'm not on scholarship anymore," Irvin said. "I'm just honored that Coach Carroll welcomed me back."
Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril said having Irvin back will improve the defense.
"Bruce is the fastest of all of us," Avril said. "Having another pass-rusher with that much speed makes us even better."