Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The second-year player's appeal of the suspension was denied by the NFL on Monday.

Bryant became a key target for Ben Roethlisberger toward the end of the 2014 season, making 26 receptions for 549 yards and eight touchdowns. He was a fourth-round draft pick out of Clemson last year and was expected to be a strong complement to All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown.

Pittsburgh already was going to be missing All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell for its opener on Sept. 10 at New England. Bell also is serving a suspension under the same policy.

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