Last season's top rusher and the 1986 Super Bowl MVP have joined the list of NFL players suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Running back Charles White of the Los Angeles Rams, and a pair of Chicago Bears, star defensive end Richard Dent and running back Calvin Thomas, were suspended by the league for 30 days Wednesday for violating its substance abuse policy.The three were placed on non-football illness lists and can not return to their clubs until Oct. 7.

The three increased the number of players suspended this year for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy to 17. Sixteen received 30-day suspensions - given to second-time offenders - and one, running back Tony Collins, was suspended for at least a year after testing positive for a third time.

Rams coach John Robinson said the substance found in White's test was alcohol.

Because of his previous problems with cocaine, White was subject to suspension for using alcohol under the league's substance abuse policy. Players who have never had a substance-abuse problem cannot be suspended for using alcohol under the league's policy.

This is the third year of the testing program, which began in 1986. First offenders are not reported to the league, but their teams are notified by the league's drug office.