The NFL announced today that they have suspended Colts tight end Weslye Saunders for the first 8 games of the 2013 season for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy.
Saunders is the second Colt to be suspended for violating league policy this offseason, as wide receiver LaVon Brazill was suspended for the first 4 games of the season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Added to that is the fact that Joe Lefeged was arrested in Washington D.C., and it hasn't exactly been a great offseason for the Colts.
Here's what I wrote in my tight end position preview about Saunders:
Weslye Saunders rounds out the five tight ends on the roster right now. Saunders was originally signed as an undrafted free agent before the 2011 season and he played in 16 games (starting 6) for the Steelers that year and was with them for the first part of the 2012 season before being released in October. Just a few days after he was released, the Colts signed him. He played in 11 games (starting 4) for Indy last season and caught 2 passes for 15 yards on the year. He too is a blocking tight end.
I didn't think he was going to make the 53-man roster anyways, and now I doubt he'll even be around on the 90-man roster when camp opens in a little over a week (!). No, he won't count against the roster for the first 8 weeks, but still - why keep him? I thought that Justice Cunningham was going to beat out both Saunders and Dominique Jones anyways - so why would they keep Saunders if he's going to be out 8 weeks anyways?
An 8 game suspension is the typical suspension for a second violation. One more and it's a 12 month suspension. Look, this is just dumb. And it adds to an already rough offseason for the Colts.
I don't expect Saunders to be around the Colts much longer. He would have provided good competition and depth during camp, but a depth player is expendable. And that's true of Saunders.
One last interesting thought, courtesy of Ian Rappoport of NFL.com:
Remember when #Colts worked out veteran TEs Dante Rosario, Randy McMichael and Cornelius Ingram in May? Saunders' suspension may be why— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 18, 2013