T.J. McDonald is currently a free agent and, when he does eventually sign with an NFL team, he'll have to wait half a season before he can play.
The former Rams safety was suspended eight gamesfor violating the NFL's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, the league announced Wednesday.
The suspension stems from McDonald's arrest last May, when he was chargedwithdriving under the influence of a substance other than alcohol in Woodland Hills, Calif.The 26-year-old McDonald was formally charged in September and pleaded guilty in Januaryto a misdemeanor count of reckless driving involving drugs or alcohol.
He was sentenced to three years' probation and fined $390 plus penalties as part of a plea agreement. McDonald also has to complete a one-month live-in drug program, attend alcohol and narcotics classes andperform 200 hours of community service.
McDonald was arrested when he hit a parked carMay 10, but did wait for police to arrive. McDonald was also ordered in January to pay restitution to the driver of the other vehicle.
McDonald, a third-round pick from USC in 2013, took a free-agent visit to Miami on the same day he learned of his suspension, according to ESPN.com.
McDonald started all 16 games for the Rams last season, recording 64 tackles with a sack and two interceptions.
Since the Rams selected him out of USC in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, McDonald has started 53 games and has 285 tackles with five sacks, four interceptions, 17 pass breakupsand a forced fumble.