The NFL suspended Indianapolis Colts tight end Weslye Saunders for eight games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
According to the Indianapolis Star’s Phillip B. Wilson, the violation marks Saunders’ second PED-related. The first one came at the expense of the Pittsburgh Steelers who released him after they gave out a four-game suspension. He was discovered to have the stimulant drug adderall in his system. Five days after he was cut, he signed with the Colts.
Saunders said the fallout with the Steelers was something “unfortunate” and a “mistake,” per Wilson. When he was signed by the Colts in October 2012, the 24-year-old tight end out of Gary, Ind. maintained adderall helped him focus when he felt drowsy.
“When you hear performance-enhancing drugs, automatically you think of some guy in the corner shooting up whatever into his veins. It was nothing like that. A one-time thing. I learned from it and am ready to roll now.”
League officials haven’t divulged the exact substance which Saunders took to merit his latest suspension. The Associated Press via Fox Sports confirms he can still practice with the team during training camp and take part in preseason games. The suspension will kick in once the regular season commences on September 8 against the Oakland Raiders.
He can resume playing for the Colts on November 3 in a road game against the Houston Texans.
Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports writes the eight-game suspension will cost Saunders $261,176 in base pay. Not only that, he also puts his future with the Colts at serious risk.
Saunders was also involved in a controversy while in college at South Carolina. He was reported to be in touch with an agent and was eventually suspended by coach Steve Spurrier for violations unrelated to the NCAA investigation. Saunders was eventually kicked off the Gamecocks roster less than a month afterward.
The development is the latest on what has turned out to be a somewhat tumultuous offseason for the Colts. Second-year LaVon Brazill was also suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. His suspension is for four games. Safety Joe Lefeged was areested by authorities in Washington, D.C. on gun-related charges.