After showing up to camp overweight last year, Watkins was able to win the starting left guard job but an ankle injury in the first week wound up wiping out the rest of his season. The suspension this year is just for one game, but it’s hardly a pattern of reliability for a player the Rams were looking to as a starter on the offensive line this year.
It doesn’t sound like the team’s lost their faith in him, however. Coach Jeff Fisher wouldn’t offer any details about why Watkins was suspended, but he did say that he thinks the league erred in suspending his player.
“I’ll say this, we’ve been aware of it for quite some time,” Fisher said, via Joe Lyons of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m not going to go into specifics of the suspension. We respect the league’s decision, but personally and respectfully, I disagree with the suspension and the circumstances regarding the suspension. That’s my opinion, but we’ll honor the league’s decision.”
Players in the substance-abuse program who test positive are usually suspended for four games, which suggests Watkins violated the policy in another way. That could mean an arrest or other run-in with the authorities, although those details mean less going forward for the Rams than Fisher’s willingness to go on the record in support of his guard.