The May 16 date referenced by Ingram’s agents is the due date for the arbitrator’s full written decision.
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Saints RB Mark Ingram‘s agents released a statement Tuesday saying they are “vigorously” fighting his four-game suspension ruling.
“At the end of the 2017 season, as a result of a NFL mandated random drug test, Mark Ingram tested positive for a substance that was not a performance-enhancing substance, nor an illegal substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL. He has vigorously challenged the test results through the arbitration process. The arbitrator’s Opinion is due on or before Wednesday, May 16. Upon having the opportunity to review the arbitrator’s opinion, we will explore what further options are needed.”
Ingram will be allowed to participate in offseason practices and the preseason, but he won’t be able to play in a regular season game until the team’s Week 5 matchup against the Redskins.
The Saints will be without Ingram for games against the Buccaneers, Browns, Falcons and Giants.
New Orleans currently has Alvin Kamara, Trey Edmunds, Jonathan Williams and Boston Scott on their roster at running back, but it’s possible they could sign a free agent in the coming days to bolster their depth for the start of the season.
Ingram, 28, is a former first-round pick of the Saints back in 2011. He played out his rookie contract before returning to the Saints on a four-year, $16 million contract that included $7.6 million guaranteed a few years ago.
Ingram stands to make a base salary of $4 million in the final year of the agreement. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
In 2017, Ingram appeared in all 16 games and rushed for 1,124 yards on 230 carries (4.9 YPC) to go along with 58 receptions for 416 yards receiving and 12 total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 22 running back out of 60 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Ingram’s appeal as the news is available.