The NFL and the Denver Broncos have announced that WR Wes Welker‘s suspension is official, which means he will begin serving his ban in Week 1.
There were some reports that mentioned Welker could be available for this weekend’s game based on the fact that the league had yet to announce his suspension, but they got that out of the way Tuesday night.
Welker will miss games against the Colts, Chiefs, Seahawks and Cardinals.
Here’s a statement released by Welker:
“I’m as shocked as everyone at todays news,” Welker said, via The Denver Post. “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.
“I want any youth football players and all sports fans to know, there are NO shortcuts to success, and nothing but hard work and studying, leads to success.
“I have never been concerned with the leagues performance enhancing or drug abuse policies because under no scenario would they ever apply to me, but I now know, that (drug-policy procedures) are clearly flawed, and I will do everything in my power to ensure they are corrected, so other individuals and teams aren’t negatively affected so rashly like this.
“I have worked my whole life to be the best that I can be, and I have encountered many obstacles over my career, and THIS WILL BE NO DIFFERENT!
“Thank you for the outpouring of support, and I want Bronco nation to know, that no one and no thing will get in the way of our goal as a team, to bring Mr. Bowlen the trophy he and this great region deserve.“
- Albert Breer reports that Welker’s appeal has already taken place two weeks ago and his reps were informed that they lost today.
- Pro Football Talk reports that Welker took Molly at the Kentucky Derby back in May that was cut with amphetamines.
- According to Breer, the Broncos were already considering holding Welker out anyway.
- This suspension will cost Welker $1,882,578, according to Mike Florio.
HC John Fox told reporters that Welker has been cleared to participate in Wednesday’s practice after he suffered a concussion a few weeks ago.
It will be interesting to see who the Broncos use to replace Welker while he’s serving his suspension. They have Andre Caldwell, rookie Cody Latimer and Isaiah Burse listed as their second-string unit.
Welker, 33, is entering the final year of his two-year, $12 million contract that he signed in 2013. He has a base salary of $3 million to go along with the $3 million roster bonus the Broncos have already paid him.
In his first season with the Broncos, Welker totaled 73 receptions for 778 yards receiving and a career high 10 touchdowns over the course of 13 games.