Indianapolis Colts tight end Weslye Saunders was suspended for the first eight games of the 2013 season for a second violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, the league announced Thursday.
Saunders, who previously was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season, will not be eligible to return until after the Colts' Nov. 3 game against the Houston Texans. But he will be able to practice with the team during training camp and play in preseason games.
The 24-year-old Saunders played in nine games and started four in his first season with the Colts last year, catching two passes for 15 yards. An undrafted free agent, Saunders was waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers last October and picked up by the Colts. In 2011, Saunders played in all 16 games (six starts) for the Steelers and had four receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown.
A third violation of the league policy would result in a 12-month suspension.
Saunders was projected as a No. 3 tight end for the Colts this season.