At the conclusion of minicamp last month, Rams offensive lineman Jamon Brown said he was looking ahead to starting 16 games for the second consecutive season.
“There’s still a lot I can learn,” he said, “but up to this point I’ve been taking steps in the right direction.”
Brown, however, won’t be starting every game.
On Tuesday, the NFL announced that Brown was suspended for the first two games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Brown, 25, last season played right guard for an improved line that helped protect quarterback Jared Goff and clear the way for running back Todd Gurley as the Rams led the league in scoring and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Brown, a third-round draft pick from Louisville in 2015, carries a salary-cap number of nearly $2.1 million, according to overthecap.com
The Rams declined to comment on Brown’s suspension.
Brown was the only offensive lineman to start 16 games last season. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, left guard Rodger Saffold, center John Sullivan and right tackle Rob Havnenstein started 15 games but were held out of the season finale against the San Francisco 49ers to avoid injury in preparation for the playoffs.
Austin Blythe, a third-year pro, could start in place of Brown, who can participate in preseason practices and games but is suspended for the Sept. 10 opener at Oakland and the Sept. 16 game against Arizona.
Center-guard Brian Allen and tackles Joseph Noteboom and Jamil Denby are offensive linemen selected by the Rams in the April draft.
Brown is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
“Have I thought about it? Of course,” he said in June, adding, “I understand it’s the last year of my contract but it’s still to become the best version of me throughout this year and make sure I position myself to help this team, this organization achieve our goals.
“From that point, everything else will work itself out.”