Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker will miss time this season but not because of a concussion.
Welker has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Welker tested positive for amphetamines.
NFL Media’s Albert Breer added that Welker appealed the suspension two weeks ago because “his reputation is important,” but he lost.
According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the Broncos have been aware of Welker’s positive test since before training camp but hoped he would win his appeal. The positive test came in May, Breer reported, citing two sources.
Welker’s status for Week 1 was in question after he suffered a concussion during the Broncos’ third preseason game. Although he returned to practice Monday, which many believed to be an indication that he’d be ready for the regular-season opener, he now will miss the game regardless.
Welker will not be allowed to practice with the team during his suspension, and he will be eligible to return in Week 5.
UPDATE (7:25 p.m.): ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio shed some light on how Welker’s positive test came to be. Welker reportedly took Molly, which had been laced with amphetamines, at the Kentucky Derby.
UPDATE (Wednesday, 6:30 a.m.): Welker has responded to the news in an email to the Denver Post.