With the NFL 2018 season fast approaching, jerseys, tickets and tailgate passes are being purchased as we speak. Football fans are eagerly awaiting September 6th, 2018 for the official kick-off of NFL the season. However, for some players, this September will be spent at home, serving suspensions.
Every season brings a sense of new beginnings. Players in the NFL Draft get accustomed to their new establishments and veteran players focus in on strength and conditioning. The last few weeks through training camps have showcased injuries and adjustments on and off the field. For 26 of the league’s players, the next few weeks of pre-season will be the only field time they see.
Here are five NFL players who won’t see the field this September.
5 Key Players Serving NFL Suspensions in September
Vontaze Burfict (LB) – Cincinnati Bengals
Burfict has been suspended for the third year in a row to start this season with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s strict performance-enhancing drugs policy. The linebacker will be absent from matchups against the Colts, Ravens, Panthers and Falcons.
What does a suspension like this mean to the rest of the defence? Guys like Hardy Nickerson and Vincent Rey will have to carry the defensive unit for four weeks. Burfict will join the linebackers October 7th, for a 1:00 pm matchup against the Dolphins.
Julian Edelman (WR) – New England Patriots
This is Edelman’s first time in the suspension chair. This came as a shock to many fans, after the league handed down a four-game suspension for a PED violation of an unidentified substance. The last time Edelman took the field was in a pre-season game last year against the Detroit Lions. On August 25th, an unexpected torn ACL injury sidelined him for the 2017 season.
His comeback season, while briefly halted, will resume on Sunday Night Football. Edelman will join the Patriots receiving core against the Indianapolis Colts. In the meantime, Tom Brady will have to look elsewhere while moving the ball downfield. Brady will utilize offensive playmakers such as Chris Hogan, Eric Decker, Phillip Dorsett and Rob Gronkowski to open the field in Edelman’s absence.
Reuben Foster (LB) – San Francisco 49ers
For Foster, the first two weeks of September will be spent mulling over his absence from the 49ers defensive unit as he serves a two-game suspension for violating the substance abuse and code of conduct policy set in place by the NFL. Foster is unable to participate in contests against the Vikings in week one and the Lions in week two.
While he will return to the lineup in week three of the NFL season, the 49ers will have to rely on their other linebackers. The defensive unit will attempt to thwart the Vikings and Lions as they try to keep any scoring attempts to a minimum while Foster is serving his suspension.
Mark Ingram (RB) – New Orleans Saints
When the Saints open their season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they will be without one of their star running backs in Ingram. A four-game suspension was given to Ingram for going against the NFL’s PED policy. Ingram and fellow running back, Alvin Kamara made up a duo that collected over 1,500 yards from scrimmage each last season. This suspension will give Kamara the opportunity to shine as a lead RB while the Saints continue their march against the Buccaneers, Browns, Falcons and Giants.
Quarterback, Drew Brees will have a few options in the backfield in addition to Kamara. Boston Scott was a pickup in this years NFL Draft and will back up Kamara along with Daniel Lasco, Jonathan Williams and Trey Edmunds. Perhaps without the presence of Ingram, Brees may attempt more throwing passes to add to his already growing legacy.
Jameis Winston (QB) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Being without your starting quarterback for the opening of the NFL season may seem like a looming task especially when he will be absent for three games in September. Due to being in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, Winston was handed a three-game suspension. Because the personal conduct policy is so strict, Winston will have to actively participate in therapeutic intervention programs. This also means he will have to adhere to staying on the straight and narrow following his return to the NFL.
Tampa Bay will have a “Battle of the Ryans” for the starting quarterback role as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin will have the next few weeks to prepare to lead the Buccaneers while Winston is temporarily on hiatus. His return to the league will start in week four, where the Buccaneers take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Hopefully, this will be a learning experience for the Florida native as he enters into a contract year with the team.
Suspensions in the National Football League aren’t meant to be taken lightly. These guys, along with twenty-one other players will see the beginning of the season without their teammates. Does suspension force the player to work harder during training camps and OTA’s, with the knowledge of their significant absence? Should suspensions only be given during the beginning of the season? Does a suspended player feel as if they are able to last throughout the season will minimal injury? Only time will tell.
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