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Texans punter Brett Hartmann has been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a four game suspension for Hartmann, but the league is counting one of last year’s playoff games toward that suspension so he will only have to miss the first three games of 2012.
Hartmann averaged 44.4 yards per punt after the Texans signed him as an undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan last year. He also shared kickoff duties with Neil Rackers, averaging 66.1 yards on 50 kickoffs.
The 24-year old kicker suffered a major knee injury on Dec. 4th at Reliant Stadium in a game against the Falcons. Hartmann stumbled and collapsed at midfield while jogging downfield in kick coverage. He was not touched on the play.
Hartmann’s suspension increases the likelihood that he may not make the roster this season. There were already questions whether he could return from reconstructive knee surgery in time for the season opener. And the suspension makes it doubtful the Texans will use a roster spot for a player who will be forced to sit out their first three games.