SPARTANBURG, S.C. – During training camp, most players count down the days until the regular season begins on September 7.
Defensive end Frank Alexander is counting down the days to October 5.
In May, Alexander was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy and program for substances of abuse.
"It's very disappointing when something like that gets taken away from you," Alexander said. "I've been playing this game for so long and not being able to play because of something like that is disappointing."
When asked why didn't appeal the suspension, Alexander provided an honest answer.
"There wasn't anything to appeal," Alexander said. "I did it."
The coaches – obviously disappointed to be without a defensive end for the first month of the season – encouraged Alexander, who has 3.5 sacks and 23 quarterback pressures in two NFL seasons, to remain focused.
"(The coaches told me) just keep working. Keep paying attention to the details. Be ready when you come back in October. Be smarter," Alexander said.
"When I come back I just have to come back strong."
And, when his suspension is over, Alexander will strive to learn from it and put it behind him.
"It's an eye-opening experience," he said. "I just have to be smarter from here on out."