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The Saints are off to a strong start in 2023 on the defensive side of the ball. But now they'll be without one of their top starters for close to a month, with the team announcing Wednesday that safety Marcus Maye has been suspended three games by the NFL.

Maye, 30, violated the league's substance abuse policy, per the NFL, and won't be eligible to return to the field until Week 6, when New Orleans is scheduled to visit the Texans on Oct. 15. The Saints will be without him against the Packers, Buccaneers and Patriots.

The NFL's statement on Maye's discipline does not specify how the veteran violated the policy, but the former Jets standout was previously arrested in October 2021, while still in New York, and faced DUI charges. Maye was also arrested last September, months after signing with the Saints, and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, but he vehemently denied those allegations.

The seventh-year defensive back has had a big hand in the Saints' 2-0 start, helping New Orleans enter Week 3 with the league's No. 4-ranked defense. In two games, he ranks behind only All-Pro linebacker Demario Davis in total tackles (13), and has also logged one sack, interception and pass deflection apiece.

The Saints' backups at safety, behind fellow starter Tyrann Mathieu, are J.T. Gray and Lonnie Johnson Jr., a converted cornerback.