November 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) catches a pass during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, there’s no chance Wes Welker’s or any other suspended player’s suspension will be lifted by the time week one games start.
Hill has been covering the Cowboys since 1997, so for Broncos fans who might not recognize his name at all, this is indeed a credible source.
It makes sense after the two sides were unable to come to an agreement by Friday afternoon, although there’s a chance that Sunday is still a ‘soft deadline’ per some other reports around the league. In either situation, the Broncos will be prepared and ready for the Colts, but these four games are certainly costing Welker quite a bit of cash.
Since covering the lockout, I haven’t had to report this name, but here’s DeMaurice Smith talking about a possible new agreement between the owners and players on the NFL’s drug policy.
“We don’t want players to suffer because the union and league couldn’t get it done before the league year,” Smith said.
According to ESPN, the Broncos believe that if an agreement is reached in the coming days or week, Welker’s suspension would be lifted. It was unclear initially whether or not this new policy could make suspensions retroactive, but it would be humongous news for not only the Broncos, perhaps even more so for teams like the Cleveland Browns, who are prepping for a full year without Josh Gordon, the league’s reigning receiving yardage champion.
There’s reason to believe the Broncos will have Welker back as soon as week two after initially planning on him being gone until week six. The suspension to Welker has been painted as a blessing in disguise, not necessarily for the Broncos but for Welker, who was battling the NFL’s concussion protocol to be back by week one’s game if the suspension didn’t hold up.
Welker suffered a concussion against the Texans in the preseason, and the Broncos really need to make sure to monitor his situation closely after he had two concussions that essentially put him on a short-term IR at the end of last season. The Broncos didn’t take any risks, and for the final three weeks of the season, they deactivated Welker and brought him back for their playoff run.
If Welker is out week one as is expected, it would be nice to have him return for a week two matchup against Kansas City, and especially nice to have him back for week three’s showdown in Seattle, where it seems like no one can win. The Broncos are going to try to make it happen in a Super Bowl rematch, and having all hands on deck will be essential.
This whole situation has been weird, starting with a first-time offender in Welker being suspended for four games. He was vocal about doing ‘everything in his power’ to make sure this doesn’t happen to other unsuspecting and potentially undeserving players, and that appears to be coming to fruition sooner rather than later.