Coltsí Weslye Saunders suspended 8 games by NFL for second PED violation
Indianapolis Colts tight end Wesley Saunders has been suspended for the first eight games of the 2013 regular season due to violation of the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, the NFL announced on Thursday.
Saunders is no stranger to suspensions since he was also suspended four games last season, after testing positive for Adderall, while he was officially a under contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Later in October last year, Saunders acknowledged that using PEDs was a mistake but he only took the drugs to focus when feeling drowsy. Saunders said that his brother also took it.
"When you hear performance-enhancing drugs, automatically you kind of think of some guy in the corner shooting up whatever into his veins," said Saunders. "It was nothing like that. A one-time thing. I learned from it and am ready to roll now."
There is no word yet what substance Saunders tested positive for since the term “performance enhancing drug” covers a wide array of banned substances, form Adderall to HGH.
Since it was Saunders’ second PEDs related violation, he drew an eight game suspension. But if he was to go down this road again, he could be suspended for up to a whole season for violating the league’s policy on PEDs for a third time.
Following his 2012 suspension, Saunders was released by the Steelers in mid-October and was picked up by the Colts five days later. Saunders appeared in nine games while starting four for the Steelers, and recorded two receptions for 15 yards last season.
Although Saunders will not take the field for an NFL game until he is eligible to play again in the Colts Nov. 3 game against the Texans, he can but he can practice with the team during training camp and participate in the preseason.
Previously, Saunders was expected to play behind 2012 draft picks Coby Fleener and Dwyane on the depth chart when the Colts open the 2013 season. But now, if/when he becomes eligible to play again, he will compete for the third spot behind 2012 undrafted free agent Dominique Jones and 2013 seventh-round pick Justice Cunningham.
However, considering the severity of the suspension and Saunders’ status as a reserve player, an eight game suspension is highly likely to put his roster spot in jeopardy. Earlier in the offseason, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport raised the question whether the Colts’ recent interest in free agent tight ends arose from expectations NFL’s decision on Saunders’ second PED violation, and if they were looking to find an alternate to take his position on the roster.