NFL hands down slew of suspensions


The NFL doled out some serious penalties and suspensions today with Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers tight end, Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets defensive tackle, Rolando McClain, Dallas Cowboys linebacker and Datone Jones, Green Bay Packers defensive end all receiving suspensions to begin at the start of the regular season.

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Gates, a 12-year veteran, will receive a four game suspension, without pay, for violating the leagues performance enhancing drugs policy. Gates will miss action against the Lions, Bengals, Vikings and Browns, but will be eligible to return in week five against the Steelers. Gates will still be eligible to participate in all offseason activities and preseason games.

"Gates had this to say about his positive test according to, “In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails. I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL.”"

The New York Jets will also be without one of their most important players to begin the 2015 season as the NFL slapped a four game suspension on 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Sheldon Richardson. Richardson will also be suspended without pay for the first four games for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. He will be eligible to return in week five against the Miami Dolphins.

Both Richardson and new head coach Todd Bowles expressed their regret and disappointment, but

Dec 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Jets linebacker Calvin Pace (97) celebrates the sack for a safety by defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

kept things positive during interviews. The absence of Richardson will give Leonard Williams, the Jets first round selection and sixth overall pick of the 2015 draft, a chance to make an immediate impact.

Continuing the trend of four game penalties, linebacker Rolando McClain will also be unavailable for the first four weeks of the regular season. He is eligible to return week five against the New England Patriots. McClain has a history of being on the receiving end of disciplinary action from the commissioners office. This will be McClain’s third failed drug test since entering the league in 2010. The loss of McClain puts the Cowboys in a tough spot defensively with newly acquired Greg Hardy staring down the barrel of a possible 10-game suspension.

Finally, former first round pick Datone Jones, of the Green Bay Packers was suspended for one game for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. He is eligible to participate in all offseason activities and preseason games. He will be available to return in week two against the Seattle Seahawks.

Entering the league in 2013, Jones has not lived up to his draft status. Managing only 3.5 sacks as a rookie and just 1.5 last year. It appeared he was never part of the game plan heading into week one of the regular season. Signed through 2016, the Packers will need to make up their mind about whether or not they will pick up the option on the last year of his contract.