According to reports from Adam Schefter and Albert Breer of ESPN and NFL Network respectively, Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has been suspended the first four games of the season for use of performance enhancing drugs.
Welker was reportedly popped for the use of amphetamines back in May, and appealed with the league. He was notified on Tuesday that he lost the appeal, and will now not be eligible to return until week six (the Broncos have a week four bye).
This suspension is incredibly annoying, as the Broncos seemingly cannot get their full roster onto a field for one single game. Injuries happen, but suspensions are just ridiculous and preventable, even if you have stuff you have to take care of.
Welker’s not the type of player you come to expect to get suspended, and as good as he is, this is the kind of blow the Broncos can pretty well absorb offensively, though missing Welker last year didn’t prove to be the greatest of situations for the Broncos, especially on third down.
Welker will be replaced in the lineup and in terms of targets by some combination of Andre Caldwell, Jacob Tamme, and rookie Cody Latimer, so if you’re a fantasy football player, those are guys to secure as backups.
Last season, Welker played in 13 games for the Broncos, missing the final three with concussion symptoms and because the team wanted to keep him away from further injury before the playoffs. He had 73 catches for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns.
This suspension could turn out to be a sort of blessing in disguise for Welker, who may or may not have otherwise been rushed back to the field too early after the concussion he suffered against the Texans in the preseason.
If this suspension proves to be better on Welker’s health in the long run, I say it’s an unfortunate way to a ‘win’ for the Broncos’ slot receiver.