The National Football League announced on Thursday that Indianapolis Colts tight end Weslye Saunders has been suspended without pay for eight games after violating the league's policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
While a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saunders was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season for violating the same policy, a positive result attributed to Adderall. The Steelers released Saunders after his suspension was served and the former undrafted free agent out of South Carolina was signed by the Colts.
Saunders played in 14.84 percent of the Colts' offensive snaps and 24.33 percent of the special teams snaps, totaling two receptions for 15 yards with one tackle in 11 regular season games (and four starts). Saunders also dressed for the Colts' 24-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card playoff game.
The eight-game suspension will cost Saunders $261,176 in base salary and likely jeopardizes his spot on the Colts' roster moving forward. With Bruce Arians taking the head coaching position with the Arizona Cardinals in January, the Colts are changing offensive systems under new coordinator Pep Hamilton. Multiple tight end personnel groupings will still be utilized, but Saunders was behind Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen on the depth chart. The Colts also invested the final pick in the 2013 draft on Justice Cunningham, Saunders' former teammate at South Carolina, who could earn the No. 3 role during training camp and the preseason.
Saunders' suspension is the latest negative incident the Colts will have to deal with this offseason. In June, second-year wide receiver LaVon Brazill was suspended four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Less than a week after Brazill was suspended, safety Joe Lefeged was arrested on weapons charges.
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