Written by: LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports
The news broke yesterday that four players in the NFL have been suspended for certain amounts of time this upcoming season. Three of those players have been suspended four games and the fourth has been suspended for just one game.
Dallas Cowboys Rolando McClain:
The free-agent pick up last season who filled in nicely for then injured Sean Lee and was a tackling machine that helped the Dallas Cowboys get to the playoffs AND helped to get Tony Romo’s second playoff victory. McClain was tested and founded with banned substances in his system. Direct violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He will miss the Giants, Eagles, Falcons and Saints games. With free-agent acquisition DE Greg Hardy facing his own 10-game suspension when the season starts, the Cowboys already look to an uphill battle and that does not figure in the Sean Lee factor and if he can stay healthy for an entire season. Missed two straight seasons to injury.
New York Jets Sheldon Richardson:
The young defensive tackle who is the key to that Jets defense also was testes and found to have illegal substances in his system. No player has had more tackles in his first two seasons than Sheldon Richardson, who broke the mark previously held by Houston Texans J.J.Watt. Richardson is the big man in the middle who can not only stop the run but give a consistent pass rush. The addition of Darrell Revis and Antonio Cromartie to the secondary may make up for some of what is surely going to be missed production on the front seven. Richardson will miss games against the Colts, Browns, Eagles and Dolphins and since the Jets have a bye week five, that gives Richardson two weeks of prep work to return for week 6.
San Diego Chargers Antonio Gates:
This one could be pose the most troubling because of the reliance that Chargers QB Phillip Rivers has with his Pro-Bowl tight-end. With a relatively young wide-receiving core, it was Gates that Rivers could always count on to make those key first downs and in the red zone area. Gates he never knowingly took anything that was not on the PED banned list. But the old saying goes, “If you are unsure, ASK.” Gates was tested and found with banned substances in his system and will be sitting out the first four games as well. Gates will miss games against the Lions, Browns, Bengals and Vikings. Will return for week five when the Steelers come to town. The worst part of this news for the fans of the Chargers is that this could very well be the last season that Gates plays in San Diego as the team is preparing to leave for Los Angeles and their new home.
Green Bay Packers Datone Jones:
Jones relatively new to the NFL has made the one mistake new players do not really want to make, be on the radar of the NFL offices for the WRONG reasons. Was tested and found to have a banned substance in his system and will serve a one-game suspension since this was his first infraction. He will miss the opener against the Chicago Bears but as with all others who are suspended, will be able to participate in O.T.A.’s and preseason games before sitting out.
All suspensions are WITHOUT PAY.
NOT just about the infractions but also about the athletes making these moves when the NFL are being more strict with their drug-testing policy and there are so many ways to get their questions answered.
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