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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Colts' defense took another hit Monday when the NFL announced starting safety LaRon Landry would miss the next four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy.
Landry will not be eligible to return until after the Colts visit Pittsburgh on Oct. 26.
Colts spokesman Avis Roper wrote in an email there would be no additional comment from the team.
Landry was not available for comment in the locker room, and the announcement wasn't made until after coach Chuck Pagano had spoken with reporters.
Landry initially defended himself on a Twitter post that read "Sometimes things aren't what they appear to be" before quickly deleting the comment.
The 6-foot, 226-pound former Pro Bowler spent most of the offseason working out on his own and missed the start of training camp with a groin injury.
But he started each of Indy's first four games and went into Sunday ranked third on the team in tackles (15). Landry was credited with three more tackles in a 41-17 victory over the Titans.
Now the Colts are looking for another replacement before hosting Baltimore (3-1) this weekend.
Indy lost longtime starter Antoine Bethea to San Francisco in free agency and Bethea's projected replacement, Delano Howell, with a neck injury in training camp. Howell is already on season-ending injured reserve.
That leaves the Colts with only four safeties on the active roster — Mike Adams, who has been starting opposite Landry; Sergio Brown, who was in the mix for the starting job in training camp; former Eagles safety Colt Anderson, who was inactive Sunday with a groin injury; and rookie Dewey McDonald, who was promoted from the practice squad Monday after backup receiver Da'Rick Rogers was released for what Pagano called "conduct detrimental" to the team.
Rogers joined the Colts' practice squad last September.
The once promising college receiver went undrafted in 2013 after admitting he failed multiple drug tests at the University of Tennessee before transferring to Tennessee Tech. The Colts signed Rogers after he was cut by Buffalo in August 2013.
"I think the way things are set up here, it's a pretty good culture, pretty good environment, pretty good place to thrive and grow," Pagano said. "If you can't make it here, you're going to find it tough to make it anywhere."
But the Colts have endured more than their share of off-the-field problems this year.
Team owner Jim Irsay is serving a league-imposed six-game suspension after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated.
Receiver LaVon Brazill was cut this summer after failing another drug test, which resulted in a one-year suspension that was later reduced to 10 games. Robert Mathis, the 2013 NFL sacks champ, also was suspended for the first four games for violating the performance-enhancing substance policy.
And now there's Landry's suspension and Rogers' release, which couldn't have come at a worse time.
Indianapolis (2-2) looked as if it had just turned the corner with back-to-back blowout wins, outscoring Jacksonville and Tennessee by a combined 85-34.
Andrew Luck and the offense have been humming and the short-handed defense appeared to be progressing despite being without three starters — Mathis, defensive lineman Arthur Jones (ankle), inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring).
Plus, the Colts finally got Mathis, one of the team's most popular veterans, back in the team complex Monday.
He was prohibited by league rules from entering the facility during the suspension. Mathis was quickly put on the reserve/non-football injury list Monday, a formality after he sustained a season-ending torn Achilles' tendon during a private workout in Atlanta while he was away from the team.
But Pagano has big plans for his star pass rusher.
"He's got to earn his check somehow," Pagano said, drawing laughter. "Just like Reggie (Wayne), he got enough time to mend up and get back out here and then be an assistant coach. That's (Mathis') title now. He's got all kinds of assignments.
"It was great walking into the team meeting today and he sat in the same seat he's sat in forever. It was awesome to have him back in the building. His presence alone brings a ton of energy to everyone."
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