By Brian McNally

LONDON — Redskins left tackle Trent Williams was suspended four games by the NFL on Tuesday for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

It is a brutal blow for Washington, which is 4-3-1 and in the middle of the playoff chase in the NFC. But Williams is arguably its most important player, a four-time Pro Bowler who covers quarterback Kirk Cousins’ blindside and can match up with almost any top pass rusher.

Williams’ suspension begins immediately. He will miss a crucial four-game stretch with games against Minnesota, Green Bay, Dallas and Arizona. Williams can return to the active roster on Dec. 5 and is eligible to play again on Dec. 11 against Philadelphia.

The Redskins put out a statement on Tuesday evening:

“Today, Trent Williams was suspended by the NFL under the terms of the Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse for the next four games. We met with Trent today to discuss this unfortunate news. Per the terms of the Policy, Trent will be permitted to participate in team meetings and workout at the Redskins’ facilities throughout this time. The Redskins are counting on Trent to help our team when he returns from suspension. Our focus will now turn to the Minnesota Vikings after our bye this upcoming weekend. Any questions related to this matter should be directed to the NFL or NFLPA.”

The NFL statement in full read:
“Trent Williams of the Washington Redskins has been suspended without pay for the team’s next four games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Williams’ suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Redskins’ active roster on Monday, December 5 following the team’s December 4 game against the Arizona Cardinals.”

This isn’t the first violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy by Williams. In 2011, his second season in the league, Williams was suspended the final four games for multiple failed drug tests related to marijuana use. Washington tight end Fred Davis was suspended the final four games of that year as well.

Williams cost himself $1.85 million in salary that year and this time it will be $1.650 million.

Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.


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