Bills rookie LB Dodson suspended 6 games

The NFL has suspended Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Tyrel Dodson six games for a violation of the league's personal conduct policy, the team confirmed Thursday.

The suspension stemmed from Dodson's offseason arrest in Scottsdale, Arizona, in May on domestic violence and disorderly conduct charges, after his girlfriend told police he became violent with her during an argument and stole money from her.

Dodson denied the charges but reached a plea deal, pleading guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges.

The Bills signed Dodson as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, and he spent training camp and the preseason with Buffalo.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Dodson entered his plea deal Wednesday and the NFL responded accordingly Thursday afternoon. Beane said that the Bills organization did not find any signs of domestic violence and would not support Dodson if there were any.

"I'm not sure we would necessarily stand behind him," Beane said Thursday. "That's very serious and we're very serious about it here -- but we're also serious about giving people their due process. He's a guy that's never been in trouble with the law before and we took that into account.

"If we saw any signs of domestic violence, he probably wouldn't even have come to camp with us. But we wanted to let it play out."

Beane said the Bills reached out to authorities in Scottsdale and remained in contact with both Dodson and his legal team to reaffirm his recollection of the event, then drew their own conclusion based on what they found.

As this process has played out, Beane said he believes it has been an opportunity for Dodson to learn a valuable lesson.

"He's been a good kid, he's done everything that's been asked of him," Beane said. "He's learning the ropes and has a ways to go as a player. I'm sure this has been a growth experience for him on and off the field -- a major wake-up call to reality.

"He just turned 21 this summer, so I'm sure this definitely opened his eyes as to what can happen if you don't watch yourself in situations ... He's a young player that has a chance to grow, but obviously he can't have any setbacks or anything like this."

Dodson began the 2019 season on the commissioner's exempt list as the matter was investigated. He is first eligible to return for the team's Week 9 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Beane said the Bills will make a decision when Dodson's suspension is up as to whether to add him to the 53-man roster, waive him, or waive him and sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers. Until Week 9, however, Dodson is to have no contact with the team, per league rules.