After a disappointing rookie season that basically amounted to a redshirt year, Isaiah Pead must take another step back before he tries to move forward with his NFL career.
The second-year running back from the University of Cincinnati was suspended for the opening game of the 2013 regular season by the NFL for violating league policy on “substances of abuse.”

Pead knows he has only himself to blame.

“It’s definitely a tough blow to be losing a game and to be embarrassed,” Pead said after Thursday’s practice at Rams Park. “Embarrassing myself, my family, and of course the organization and my teammates.

“But it’s well behind. I’m getting over it and now I’m getting ready. I apologize for it. Shouldn’t have been in the situation, but things happen, you learn from it, and you keep going.”

Pead declined to provide specifics of what happened that led to the suspension.

“It was an isolated situation,” he said.

A situation that, Pead added, “I shouldn’t even have been in.”

Although the suspension was handed down at the end of last week, according to coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams have been aware of Pead’s situation for some time.

“This was an incident that took place last summer, so we dealt with it at that point knowing that the league was probably going to follow up,” Fisher said. “We were disappointed. But there’s been so much time between the incident and where he’s at now, I believe it’s behind him. Obviously, he has to suffer the consequences and miss the game but I’m pleased with how he’s bounced back and his professional approach to being a member of this team this year.”

Such suspensions, by league practice, usually aren’t announced until after any appeals process is exhausted. Even so, for nearly a year to pass before any discipline is announced is unusual.

“It happened and decisions were made,” Pead said. “A little bit of a discipline last year, but this is a greater discipline. I take all my discipline as a man. I’ve gotta miss the first week. That (stinks), but I’ll be back out that next week and still training as if I’m out there that first week.

“Can’t get down on myself. Like I said, things happen, move past it, and continue to be the player that I want to be.”

Another thing that’s unusual about Pead’s suspension is that it’s for only one game.

That’s an indication that Pead wasn’t suspended for failing a league-mandated drug test, because those suspensions are always for four games by NFL policy.

One game obviously is better than four, and it may not seem like much.

But there are only 16 regular-season games in the NFL, so it’s the equivalent of a 10-game suspension in Major League Baseball.