Patriots tight end Ben Watson will serve a four-game suspension to start the season.
Watson himself made the announcement on Facebook, saying that he began using testosterone this offseason at a doctor’s suggestion. Testosterone is a legal prescription medication but is also a banned substance under the NFL’s PED policy, and Watson says he is suspended for using it briefly after he retired from the Saints and before he came out of retirement with the Patriots.
“After my contract expired last March I told my doctors I was finished playing, went through a series of medical tests and was prescribed Bio Identical Testosterone Cypionate to assist in healing my body and mind,” Watson wrote. “On March 29, nine days after I started therapy, I was randomly tested under our substance policies. I complied out of habit, never thinking in that moment I’d want to come back. In late April, some clubs expressed interest in me playing and after much deliberation and prayer, I decided I wanted to return. Considering myself previously retired, I had forgotten all about my test in March until I got a letter on May 3rd saying my results were positive. I was devastated and for obvious reasons did not want to proceed. At that point I knew that my decision to return to play would include a four game suspension and I immediately discussed this new development with the clubs. Ultimately I decided to pursue another year and on May 9 the Patriots offered me a contract in spite of these circumstances.”
Watson says he realizes the rules are what they are and accepts the suspension.
“I respect the regulations that have been collectively bargained to promote fairness on the field of play and accept the discipline associated with my infraction,” Watson said.
The 38-year-old Watson can still participate in all offseason work but will have to be away from the team for the first four weeks of the regular season. His first game back on the field will be October 6 at Washington.