NFL suspends Fred Davis indefinitely for violating substance abuse policy

Former Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis has been suspended by the NFL for a violation of its policy on substances of abuse, the league announced Wednesday, which means it is possible Davis will miss the entire 2014 season.

An NFL spokesman said only that Davis was suspended indefinitely, did not specify the length of the time and would not elaborate on the matter. 

The suspension will be the second for Davis, who is set to become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 11. He was suspended for the final four games of the 2011 season after he failed a drug test when training camps resumed after a four-month lockout.

A report by CBS Sports last month indicated that Davis was facing a six-game suspension to start the coming season, which would have been standard for a second violation of the policy. According to that policy, a player will receive a suspension of at least one full season for a third violation, which occurs when he either registers two positive drug tests or fails to cooperate with testing.

If Davis has been suspended indefinitely by the league, his reinstatement could be delayed significantly. Redskins free safety Tanard Jackson was suspended indefinitely on Aug. 31, 2012 and has yet to be reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell. 

Davis recently completed his sixth season with the Redskins, who drafted him out of USC in the second round in 2008. Expected to resume his role as the starting tight end after recovering from a torn left Achilles’ tendon in 2012, Davis was instead surpassed on the depth chart by Logan Paulsen and rookie Jordan Reed and played in only 10 games, when he caught seven passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.

The NFLPA released a statement on Davis‘ behalf:

“I would like to clarify the circumstances that resulted in my current suspension. In the past, I made the mistake of knowingly ingesting a banned substance. For over two years, I’ve worked very hard to eliminate marijuana from my life, and I have not had a positive test for it since 2011. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago I took a supplement that contained a banned substance. I now know that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may contain banned substances. The NFL Policy is strict, and not knowing that a supplement might contain a banned substance doesn’t excuse a violation of the policy. I’ve worked closely with the NFLPA and NFL to resolve this violation, and I will be permitted to apply for reinstatement in the fall. I look forward to staying in football shape, remaining in compliance with the NFL policy, and having a chance to get back on the field to contribute to a team’s success next season.”

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