Veteran tight end, Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers and defensive tackle/end Sheldon Richardson, of the New York Jets, have been suspended 4 games each for violation of the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) policy and Substance Abuse policy, respectively.
The 35-year-old Gates has never been linked to PEDs before and insists that he never “knowingly” ingested a banned substance. Obviously, ingesting PEDs isn’t the only way to get them into your body but it is feasible that Gates was unaware. Regardless, as it pertains to Gates’ Hall of Fame prospects this incident may cast some doubt as to whether or not the highly decorated tight end will make it to Canton. On the field, Ladarius Green, Stevie Johnson, and Keenan Allen stand to see an increase in targets in Gates’ absence.
Sheldon Richardson’s absence almost certainly means more of a focus on the Jets’ first round selection Leonard Williams. There is also the potential that the Jets double their efforts to sign Muhammad Wilkerson to a long term deal. Richardson, a budding star, gave the following statement through the Jets’ organization:
“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans. However, words aren’t enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”
Former first round picks Rolando McClain of the Dallas Cowboys and Datone Jones of the Green Bay Packers are also facing four-game bans due to violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse policy.