While the upcoming Fourth of July weekend is almost here, the league doesn't lax on the rules. Four NFL players have been hit with the suspension hammer as Antonio Gates, Sheldon Richardson, Datone Jones and Rolando McClain have all been caught violating the substance abuse policy. While Datone Jones only has a 1 week suspension, Gates, Richardson & McClain all face 4 week suspensions. Now the exact substance has not been said on any of the four players, but the assumptions so far is marijuana use. These suspensions have become a common occurence throughout the years, as we have witnessed from Josh Gordon, Dwayne Bowe, and Von Miller in past years.
One that struck me was seeing Antonio Gates' name, as it never would have crossed my mind for such a suspension. Gates being the thirteen year veteran and Hall of Fame level tight end from the San Diego Chargers. He has already issued a statment on his Twitter page saying,
A very unfortunate incident for the eight time pro-bowler, but this does sound like an honest mistake. Nonetheless Goodell and the hammer of justice waivers none as Gates will be on the sideline weeks 1-4 this season. All these players seem to be very talented persons on their respective squads, from McClain and his comeback season with Dallas, to Sheldon Richardson and his dominant play for the Jets. Just unfortunate news overall.
Rolando McClain being a former Raven with a difficult time handling his life and NFL at the same time seems to have fallen back a step after a phenomenal year (and CPotY snub) just last season. McClain was signed by the Ravens after Ray Lewis left, and could never get it together, leaving the team for retirement. Then once more said he was ready and backed out a second time. This time the Ravens gave him to the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional 7th round selection. The trade worked completely in Dallas' favor as McClain played 654 snaps and acheived 74 tackles this season, and also tied current Raven Daryl Smith for 3-4 ILB overall rankings from PFF. Hopefully we see all these men on the field in week 5 and their names off the frequent offenders lists.