The NFL officially announced Tuesday night that Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker will miss the first four games of the season after violating the league’s performance enhancing drugs policy.
The four game suspension will actually be a five-week ban in total as the Broncos bye week falls in Week 4. Welker is eligible to return to the team’s active roster on Monday, October 6. He will miss games against the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. All four teams won at least 10 games last season.
“Tonight’s news regarding Wes is very disappointing for our team, but we understand the league’s authority in this area. While it’s unfortunate to not have him to start the year, I have full confidence in our wide receivers and expect that group to continue playing at a high level,” head coach John Fox said in a statement.
“I have no doubt that Wes will remain focused on his preparations for the season and stay in excellent shape during his time away from the team.”
The banishment under the PED policy happened because Welker took MDMA, a banned substance under the substance-abuse policy, that had been cut with amphetamines, a banned substance under the PED policy.
The timing of the announcement was somewhat odd. It comes late on a Tuesday night and the Broncos had likely already built a game plan with the assumption Welker was going to be available to play this week. In addition, if the suspension had been announced before final cuts on Saturday, the team could have kept an additional player during cuts as Welker would have been placed on the reserve/suspended list.