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Von Miller enters stage three of substance abuse program and how he got there

On Monday, the NFL would hand down a 6-game suspension to Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller for violating NFL's substance abuse policy.

Back in his rookie season in 2011, Miller tested positive for marijuana and a type of amphetamines. Miller would receive no suspension at the time as it was his first offense. For his violation, the league would have Miller enter stage one of the substance abuse program. In stage one, Miller would be need to enter a substance abuse program and provide urine samples up to 10 times a month for two years.

If Miller had completed stage one successfully, he wouldn't have initially been facing a four-game suspension for spilling a urine sample and providing a diluted sample in October of 2012. We know Miller didn't complete the program because the NFL rule book says this:

If a player has successfully completed Stage One, the punishment for a violation in Stage Two a fine equal to four games' pay. If the player has not completed Stage One, the punishment for a violation in Stage Two is a four-game suspension. A second violation in Stage Two increases the suspension to six games.

It's probable Miller would actually have more violations since he entering stage one in 2011. One can assume this because Miller is now in stage three according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It isn't likely Miller jumped from stage one to stage three while skipping stage two for his violations in 2012.  

However, it's not exactly important how Miller got to stage three. What is important is the fact that Miller doesn't have any strikes left. Miller will be in stage three of the program for the rest of his NFL career. In stage three, a violation will require a mandatory year long suspension sentence. That is the type of suspension that can severely damper or even kill a career, even as promising as Miller's.

Whatever issues Miller has had in the past, they need to stay there. Whether it's just a young man needing to grow up and set his priorities straight or it's someone needing to reach out for serious help, it has to happen. Miller truly cannot make any more mistakes. Otherwise, both Von Miller and Broncos fans will wonder what could have been of rather than seeing Miller reach his Hall of Fame type ceiling in a Broncos uniform.

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