Broncos Welker has 'moved on' from suspension, says drug policy was 'flawed'
By Johnny Hart
There was the concussion that sidelined him after Week 3 of the preseason.
Then, the NFL suspended him for four-games before Week 1 of the regular season.
After that was the glimmer of hope he’d play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, and then he wasn’t active despite a newly ratified drug policy.
Wes Welker is finally back with the Denver Broncos, after the league rescinded his four-game suspension Wednesday two games shy of completing his punishment.
And the wide receiver said he’s “moved on” from the situation and it was good to be back at the club’s Dove Valley facilities, especially after realizing how much he missed playing the game.
“ It feels great being out there with your teammates and everything else,” Welker said Wednesday after practice. “You really realize how much you miss it when you’re able to come here and go to work and be in meetings and hang around the guys and get out there and play something you love.”
But despite moving on from the ban, Welker maintained he’s serious about pursuing better drug policies for the NFL in light of his own case.
The five-time Pro Bowler tested positive for amphetamines, previously categorized as a performance-enhancing offense.
With the league’s zero-tolerance policy for PEDs, Welker was suspended upon his first positive test.
But with the NFL Players Association voting in favor of a new drug testing policy last Friday, which would not only allow for the testing of human growth hormone but also more relaxed recreational drug policies, Welker’s path to return had been cleared.
“I said it was flawed and we got it fixed,” Welker said. “I think that just comes to show it was flawed and it’s fixed now and we can move on from it.”
In Welker’s case, he’s now categorized under the substance-abuse policy, which comes with a suspension only after the third positive test.
There had been talk that with the player’s union voting before the weekend that Welker could’ve been activated for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.
However, the league didn’t sign off on the new drug policy until Wednesday morning, at which time Welker and several other players around the league were reinstated.
Welker’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Broncos, as they have a Super Bowl 48 rematch with the Seahawks in Seattle Sunday.
Quarterback Peyton Manning said after practice he and his fellow teammates were excited to get Welker back, a man who put up a career-high 10 touchdown catches last season.
“We missed him a lot,” tight end Julius Thomas said after practice. “Like I said, he’s one of our leaders, one of the guys that we look to in that huddle. He’s been playing at a high level for a long time, so with him back everybody kind of gets to slide into doing all the things that they normally do.”
Broncos receiver Wes Welker has suspension lifted, returns to practice
By Johnny Hart
Wes Welker returned to the practice field Wednesday two games earlier than originally anticipated, as the NFL reinstated the Denver Broncos receiver from his four-game suspension.
With a newly ratified drug policy signed off on, Welker, along with a handful of other players, had their current suspensions rescinded, leaving them eligible for return Wednesday and for games this weekend.
The NFL Players Association’s 32 team representatives voted in favor of the restructured policy last Friday, which allows testing for human growth hormone.
The new policy also categorizes Welker’s positive test for amphetamines as recreational rather than performance enhancing.
The league’s zero-tolerance policy for PEDs comes with an automatic four-game ban upon the first positive test. The substance-abuse program allows for a probationary period upon first offense, with suspensions being dealt out only after three positive tests.
There had been talk of Welker rejoining the Broncos after the player’s union vote before the weekend, making them eligible for last Sunday’s game with the Kansas City Chiefs.
However, the league did not fully ratified the new policy until Wednesday, despite the NFLPA vote normally signaling the final step for confirmation.
According to Denver Post
, Welker’s been training in the Denver area and has been cleared by an independent doctor for contact and football activities following a concussion he suffered in the Broncos’ third preseason game on Aug. 23.