Special teams star suspended four games

Updated: November 20, 2003, 12:04 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers safety Jarrod Cooper was suspended by the NFL for four games Wednesday for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The unpaid suspension begins immediately. Carolina's special teams standout will be eligible to return for the final two games of the regular season.

The punishment stems from Cooper's arrest in September for driving while intoxicated, possession of a controlled substance, speeding and driving with a revoked license.

Cooper already has been fined six game checks totaling $137,294 by the NFL for the September arrest and has said he is appealing the fine.

He also has a drunken driving conviction from a one-car accident in February 2002.

Cooper's suspension could allow the Panthers (8-2) to activate wide receiver Kevin Dyson.

Dyson has been on the physically unable to perform list all season after tearing his Achilles' tendon in June. He has practiced the past two weeks and said he's ready to play; the Panthers have until Monday to activate him or place him on injured reserve.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press