Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen, sanctioned in April for a repeat violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, has had his four-game suspension reduced to two games as a result of an appeal.
The rare reduction, first reported by the Kansas City Star, was confirmed late Sunday by a league source. The NFL had never publicly announced the suspension, but Allen had admitted to it.
Allen will miss the first two contests of the season, on Sept. 9 at Houston and Sept. 16 at Chicago, instead of the campaign's entire first month. He will be eligible to return to the team on Sept. 17, provided he meets all the conditions of the suspension.
"I'm excited about this," Allen told the newspaper. "It changes training camp for me. It will change the way I approach the season."
Allen, 25, was suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell after twice being charged with DUI last year. He has demonstrated much remorse over the incidents and has become very involved in several local charities, most notably working with a group that raises funds to combat juvenile diabetes.
The former Idaho State star pleaded no contest to the most recent charges in September and entered a diversion program to resolve the first DUI incident from May 2006.
On May 22, as first reported by ESPN.com, he signed a one-year qualifying offer for a restricted free agent, worth $2.35 million. Barring an extension, he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next spring.
A fourth-round choice in the 2004 draft, Allen has developed into one of the league's top young sack threats. He 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.
Allen indicated in February, with discussions on a long-term contract stalled, that he wanted to be traded. It is believed the Chiefs made him a multi-year offer but with significantly less in guarantees than other defensive ends, some of them with statistics inferior to his, have received lately. Allen said in February that he was "shocked and hurt" by the lack of progress toward a long-term deal.
In anticipation that this might be his final season in Kansas City, he recently sold his home there. He will live with a friend during the season but has continued to make strong contributions to the community this offseason.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.