Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has been suspended four games for using performance-enhancing drugs, specifically amphetamines.
Welker tested positive in May and appealed two weeks ago. Participants were notified Tuesday that his appeal was denied.
“Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2014 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances,” the NFL said in a statement Tuesday. “Welker will be eligible to return to the Broncos’ active roster on Monday, October 6 following the team’s October 5 game against the Arizona Cardinals.”
Welker, who suffered his third concussion since Nov. 17 this preseason, just returned to practice Monday, although he hasn’t yet been cleared for contact. He is a free agent after the season and caught 73 balls, including 10 touchdowns, for 778 yards last season after six seasons with the New England Patriots.
“Tonight’s news regarding Wes is very disappointing for our team, but we understand the league’s authority in this area.” Broncos head coach John Fox said. “While it’s unfortunate to not have him to start the year, I have full confidence in our wide receivers and expect that group to continue playing at a high level. I have no doubt that Wes will remain focused on his preparations for the season and stay in excellent shape during his time away from the team.”
The Broncos signed free agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders during the offseason and drafted rookie receiver Cody Latimer. Andre Caldwell and second-round pick Latimer could also get extra opportunities.