Welker won't be playing in Week 1 or any of Denver's first four games, because he has been suspended by the NFL for using amphetamines, ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported. Amphetamines are banned under the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
At least Welker will have time to get healthy.
Pro Football Talk reported that Welker took the drug "molly" while at last year's Kentucky Derby.
Welker had a noteworthy day at the Derby, catching many eyes on social media:
It's a blow to the Broncos' offense to lose Welker, a tremendous slot receiver who had 778 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, although Denver might be able to withstand it because of depth. Either veteran Andre Caldwell or rookie Cody Latimer can fill in, perhaps with Emmanuel Sanders playing more from the slot.
It doesn't come at an ideal time. The Broncos have perhaps the toughest four-game stretch of any NFL team to start the season, with games against Indianapolis, Kansas City, Seattle and Arizona. All of those teams won at least 10 games last year.
UPDATE: Via email, Welker told the Denver Post's Mike Klis that the suspension was a shock.
I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would NEVER knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way. Anyone who has ever played a down with me, lifted a weight with me, even eaten a meal with me, knows that I focus purely on what I put in my body and on the hard work I put in year round to perform at the highest levels year-in and year-out.
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Wes Welker
- Denver Broncos
- Kentucky Derby