MIAMI (AP) — Free agent safety T.J. McDonald has signed with the Miami Dolphins, but he’ll miss the first half of the season while serving an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

McDonald was arrested last May in Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence. He said he’s glad he’ll be able to take part in offseason team activities, training camp and preseason games before beginning his suspension.

“The one thing I can do is earn the respect for my work — through camp and OTAs — of my teammates and the coaches, and provide a spark when I can,” McDonald said Friday after his signing was announced. “Week 9, I’ll be chomping at the bit.”

McDonald spent the past four seasons with the Rams, starting 53 games, and totaled four interceptions. He started every game last year and said it was difficult being a free agent with the suspension looming.

“I just got to be hungry, stay clean and be open and honest about everything, and make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future,” he said. “My back is up against the wall. I’m just happy to be able to move forward with this, and to be able to just get back to playing ball.”

A third-round pick by the Rams in 2013, McDonald will compete for playing time in Miami with Michael Thomas, Walt Aikens and newcomer Nate Allen opposite starting safety Reshad Jones.
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(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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