Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams and tight end Fred Davis were formally suspended without pay for four games by the NFL Tuesday after failing multiple drug tests, according to a statement issued by the league Tuesday afternoon.The suspensions begin immediately
Williams reluctantly accepted the penalty earlier Tuesday, according to a person familiar with his situation. Davis’s response was less clear; he had been exploring other options over the suspension, which was hammered out in a deal between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
Williams and Davis were among 11 NFL players who failed drug tests at the start of training camp, immediately after the NFL lockout was lifted. But as part of the settlement between the NFL and the players union, those players received no punishment under a 30-day grace period granted players. During the four-month league shutdown, players were neither tested nor counseled about drug use.
Davis and Williams both failed an additional test during the season for recreational drugs, believed to be marijuana, according to people familiar with their cases. Under the settlement between the NFL and the union, the third positive test is being treated as a second offense, which carries a four-game suspension.
Both players allegedly failed tests for marijuana use some time earlier in their careers.
Davis, whose contract expires at the end of this season, was working with an attorney before the NFL issued its statement to determine whether he could challenge the penalty. He seemed to have little recourse. Because the suspension is part of a settlement between the league and the union, he would have to challenge both in court.
Davis’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has not responded to requests for comment.
Williams, according to one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, accepted the suspension after he and his representatives concluded they had no other choice except to fight both the NFL and the union. The Williams camp, the person said, was disappointed with the deal struck by the union, believing the final outcome should have been more lenient because of the circumstances of the lockout.
The Redskins confirmed the suspensions Tuesday afternoon, after the NFL issued its statement. Under league policy, neither player will be allowed to visit the team’s Redskins Park facility or take part in any team-related activities until the suspension is lifted immediately following the regular season. They also will be removed from the team’s 53-man roster.
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan declined Monday to discuss the matter until he was notified by the league. Williams and Davis were at Redskins park Monday and participated normally in team activities, he said.
“No. 1, there’s a strict, confidential protocol between the NFL and the players association, and I have not talked or spoke with the NFL thus far,” Shanahan said Monday. “Until I do, there’s not really anything I can say at this point. … I don’t want to go through those scenarios – hypothetical situations – until I know for sure what the NFL and the players association has agreed to.”
Staff writers Rick Maese and Barry Svrluga contributed to this report.
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