Benjamin Watson Suspended for Four Games After NFL Drug Policy Violation
Foxborough, MA– The lord of football giveth, and the lord of football taketh away. The 2019 off-season for the New England Patriots has definitely been shaping up to be a pleasant one that was filled with old friends and new friends joining up to form an extremely likable Patriots squad. One example of this was Benjamin Watson, a tight end who came out of retirement to sign with his former team in the wake of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement announcement. Watson seemed primed to share reps with Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but it looks like Seferian-Jenkins is going to be the tight end the team leans on in the early goings of the season.
Watson announced in a Facebook post on Sunday that he was going to be suspended for the first four games of the 2019 NFL season due to his violation of the NFL drug policy. Per his post, the suspension is the result of the fact that the 38-year-old took testosterone after retiring from the New Orleans Saints because he wanted to help heal himself and did not anticipate he would be playing again. Watson’s full post is written below.
“On March 29, nine days after I started therapy, I was randomly tested under our substance policies. I complied out of habit, never thinking in that moment I’d want to come back. In late April, some clubs expressed interest in me playing and after much deliberation and prayer, I decided I wanted to return. Considering myself previously retired, I had forgotten all about my test in March until I got a letter on May 3rd saying my results were positive. I was devastated and for obvious reasons did not want to proceed. At that point I knew that my decision to return to play would include a four game suspension and I immediately discussed this new development with the clubs. Ultimately I decided to pursue another year and on May 9 the Patriots offered me a contract in spite of these circumstances. I respect the regulations that have been collectively bargained to promote fairness on the field of play and accept the discipline associated with my infraction.”
It is definitely unfortunate to have Watson sidelined so early in the season, but you have to give him props for being honest and upfront about the situation. He handled it with class. It seems like an honest mistake and one Watson never would have made if he thought that he actually would play again when he took the substance. And hey, suspensions are nothing new for the Patriots. Right or wrong, many of their top players have missed out on early games of the seasons. And I seem to remember suspensions of players like Brandon Browner, Tom Brady, and Julian Edelman all occurring in seasons when the team eventually won the Super Bowl. Just saying.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Jeffrey Beall