The NFL has announced suspension of Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain for first four games of the season because of a violation of the substance abuse policy of the league. McClain was one of four players suspended.
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended for four games after he was found violating league's performance enhancing drugs policy. New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson received a four-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy and Green Bay Packer defensive end Datone Jones received a one-game suspension for substance abuse policy violation.
In a press release, first-year Jets coach Todd Bowles said the suspension is disappointing for Sheldon Richardson but we are going to support and welcome him after he makes a return. Bowles added the team will keep moving ahead with its preparations for the upcoming season. Richardson, one of the best five-technique ends in the NFL, issued apology for letting down his teammates, family, the fans, and his team.
Antonio Gates admitted he took some supplements during the off-season but remarked he did not knowingly use a banned performance enhancing drug. The 12-year veteran said he takes complete responsibility for his actions and would like to express his sincere apologies to his teammates, fans, the Chargers, and the league – all of whom have always supported him and expected and got nothing but the highest level of integrity from him. In a statement posted to the Chargers’ Website, Gates said he regrets to confirm that he tested positive for a substance (in an effort to recover from a long season and although he was unaware at the time) that is currently on the NFL banned substance list. The NFL veteran said he should have done his due diligence to ensure that what he was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines and went on to remark that he always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues, and he takes full responsibility for his actions.
In a statement, McClain said he apologizes to his family, the Cowboys organization, his teammates, and Cowboys fans for his mistake. The 25-year-old will be eligible to return to the active roster after a Week 4 game against the New Orleans Saints. The suspension of McClain means the Cowboys will start the NFL season without two key defenders. Defensive end Greg Hardy faces a suspension of 10 games for his role in a case of domestic violence.
Jones will miss the opener of Packers against the Chicago Bears and he will become eligible to return for a Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Jones will be able to join offseason practices and play in preseason games. However, he will not be able to attend any meetings, practices, or team events once the preseason ends. His suspension will end on September 14, a day after Packers play their season opener against the Chicago Bears.
All four players are allowed to participate in preseason games and training camps. Richardson, McClain, and Gates can make a return to the active roster on October 5, the day after the Week 4 games.