Suspended Broncos WR Wes Welker denies drug use, calls NFL’s drug-policy procedures ‘clearly flawed’

September 3, 2014

(Getty Images)

Denver Broncos wide receiver has been suspended for four games by the NFL over violations of its performance-enhancing drugs policy, and he’s not at all happy about it.

In an e-mail sent to the Denver Post, Welker seemingly takes aim at the league’s drug-testing policy.

“I’m as shocked as everyone at todays news. I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would NEVER knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way. Anyone who has ever played a down with me, lifted a weight with me, even eaten a meal with me, knows that I focus purely on what I put in my body and on the hard work I put in year round to perform at the highest levels year-in and year-out.

“I want any youth football players and all sports fans to know, there are NO shortcuts to success, and nothing but hard work and studying, leads to success.

“I have never been concerned with the leagues performance enhancing or drug abuse policies because under no scenario would they ever apply to me, but I now know, that (drug-policy procedures) are clearly flawed, and I will do everything in my power to ensure they are corrected, so other individuals and teams aren’t negatively affected so rashly like this.”

The league is only saying that Welker tested positive for amphetamine. A source told the Denver Post’s Mike Klis that the amphetamine in question was adderall, not MDMA (aka Molly) as was speculated by some on Tuesday. As Deadspin points out, MDMA is indeed an amphetamine, but it falls under the league’s recreational-drug policy, not its performance-enhancing drug policy, so it’s seemingly not the drug in question here.

Last September, the Denver Post wrote about how the NFL deals with adderall, a commonly prescribed drug that treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but one that also causes feelings of exhilaration, increased energy and mental alertness when used in a non-prescribed manner. It is classified as a performance-enhancing drug and a drug of abuse by the NFL.

Adderall, a brand-name amphetamine most commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can increase focus and provide a jolt of energy. Because of those advantages, it’s banned under the NFL’s drug policy for those who don’t obtain a therapeutic-use exemption. Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard said he knows of many players who have exemptions to use Adderall.

In 2012, the NFL handed out suspensions to 19 players for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy; in eight of those, the player was linked to Adderall or publicly blamed it for a failed test. That number was more than double from 2011, when seven players had drug-related suspensions, one of which was linked to Adderall. One suspended player has been linked to Adderall in 2013: Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin.

In his e-mail to the Denver Post, Welker denied using any sort of drug — I wouldn’t have any idea where to get a Molly or what a Molly is. That’s a joke. I don’t do marijuana, I don’t do drugs. I don’t do any drugs,” he wrote — and wondered “if someone put something in his drink” at the Kentucky Derby in May, Klis wrote. Welker was photographed passing out $100 bills to strangers at the Derby after winning big on multiple races.

Welker, whose status for the Broncos’ season opener on Sunday night against the Colts already was in question because of repeated concussions, will now be off Denver’s active roster until Oct. 6. He is not allowed to be at the Broncos facility during the course of his suspension.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.
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Des Bieler · September 3, 2014