By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - For the second straight year, Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins will be suspended for the start of the season for a violation of the league's policy on performance enhancers.
This time, the suspension carries a bigger bite: 10 games.
The NFL announced Sunday that Collins has been suspended without pay for the first 10 games of the 2017 season. He was suspended for the first four games in 2016.
Collins, a second-round pick in 2015, has said he failed drug tests at Louisiana State.
The suspension will be costly to the Falcons' depth. Collins started six games last season and had two interceptions. He moved into the lineup after star cornerback Desmond Trufant was placed on IR with a torn pectoral muscle.
Collins will be eligible to return to the active roster following the team's game against Seattle on Nov. 20.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said he and coach Dan Quinn face "decisions going forward," which could affect Collins' future with the team.
"We are extremely disappointed that for the second straight season we are dealing with a suspension for Jalen," Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team. "Such are the consequences when certain choices are made. Our decisions going forward will be based on what Dan and I feel is best for the team."
Trufant and Robert Alford are the projected starting cornerbacks in Atlanta's base defense this season.
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