As I wrote earlier this week, the 2008 season has started off pretty rough. Now, we receive two more pieces of very grim news that will affect the quality of play of the league. One bit will even question the league's integrity in general.
The first is Bengals QB Carson Palmer's season is over, according to ESPN. The Bengals are denying it, but Palmer's elbow has kept him out for weeks. It is probably best to shut him down, but it essentially guarantees Cincy wins maybe 2 games all year. Palmer is probably the third best QB in football, with Brady and Peyton ahead of him. Now, with Palmer seemingly done for 08, the NFL is absent another star. This is far to many injuries to the NFL's star players in one season. Losing guys like Palmer and Brady for the season is going to hit the NFL in its sales. Fans in cincy were already disinterested enough as it was with a semi-healthy Palmer. Now, what is the point in going?
The second bit of news was reported by FOX 31 station in Denver, citing an unnamed source, claiming that 10-15 NFL players recently tested positive for a banned substance; a weight-loss diuretic. According to the source, three New Orleans Saints players (RB Deuce McAllister, DE Will Smith, DE Charles Grant) tested positive for Bumetanide. From an NBC report:
A “water pill,” Bumetanide decreases the amount of water retained in the body by increasing urination. It causes the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine.
Bumetanide can hide the use of banned substances like steroids, which is why the NFL bans Bumetanide itself. Texans longsnapper Bryan Pittman also tested positive. All this comes on the heels of Jets RB Jesse Chatman getting suspended four games for a diuretic. This means that possibly 15 players, including three very key players of the New Orleans Saints, will get suspended. There may even be Colts players on that list. We don't know at this moment.
This is bad folks. Really, really bad.
Look, I don't mean to sound like a sad sack. I love football. I love our Colts. I love blogging about this great league and this great sport. But 2008 has started off disastrously for the NFL brass. From injuries to banned substances to Pacman to bursa sacs, this is making the "Spygate" scandal the league dealt with last year look trivial in comparison. Unlike last year, the league has no marquee clubs dominating competition, like the Colts and Patriots last year. No offense to the surging 6-0 Titans, but they ain't the 07 Colts or Pats.
I really hope the second half of 2008 is more focused on great and entertaining play on the field than all this other stuff. The first half has really been nothing more than a rash of costly injuries and the stink of cheating. Hopefully, this gets turned around.