Published: Jul 18, 2012 5:30 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 19, 2012 6:31 AM EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The NFL has announced that Carolina Panthers backup defensive tackle Andre Neblett has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.

Neblett, who joined the Panthers in 2011 as an undrafted rookie out of Temple, played in 12 games last season for Carolina and started four. He had 23 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He moved into a starting role late in the season after an injury to starting nose tackle Sione Fua.

Neblett is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

Neblett will be eligible to return to the Panthers' active roster on Oct. 1 following the team's Sept. 30 game against the Atlanta Falcons, providing he makes the Panthers roster.