LaRon Landry suspended 4 games

Loss of Colts' No. 2 tackler due to testing positive for performance-enhancing substances leaves hole in defense.

Monday became rather blue in a hurry for the Indianapolis Colts.

Not long after news spread about reserve wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers’ release in the wake of an early Monday morning DUI arrest, the team announced through an NFL spokesperson the four-game suspension of starting safety LaRon Landry for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Losing a reserve wide receiver who had been inactive for four games is one thing. Not having the hard-hitting last line of your defense is something else.

Landry was second on the team with 23 tackles, 19 of them solos, and also had a sack. But more than that, he was a physical presence that opponents were mindful of when entering the Colts’ secondary.

It’s a crushing loss of a key player at a time when the Colts (2-2) are facing a challenging stretch of games — Baltimore, at Houston (on a Thursday night), Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh are the games Landry will miss.

The two-paragraph email quoted an NFL spokesperson: “Landry will be eligible to return to the Colts’ active roster on Monday, Oct. 27, following the team’s Oct. 26 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

The Colts had already signed rookie safety Dewey McDonald from the practice squad to take Rogers’ spot. Another roster move is expected Tuesday due to Landry’s suspension. The team’s depth chart at has already listed Sergio Brown at free safety alongside strong safety Mike Adams with Colt Anderson and McDonald as backups.

Landry was coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2012 with the New York Jets when the Colts signed the free agent to a four-year, $24-million contract, including $14 million guaranteed. He started strong but battled injuries after two games and finished with 87 tackles in 12 games.

He missed the team’s three-day June minicamp with what was termed a lower body injury. The Colts were cautious with him during training camp in terms of practice time and being used in just two exhibition games. During the regular season, Landry was among many veterans afforded rest days from practice.

The public’s backlash to the suspension was to be expected, considering Landry has a chiseled, 6-0, 226-pound body, and often tweeted selfie pictures of his physique.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

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