Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker was sidelined for Denver’s Saturday preseason game against the Cowboys, and he will now have to miss a quarter of the regular season. (L.M. Otero / Associated Press)

Denver entered the offseason licking its wounds after getting blown out by Seattle in the Super Bowl. Now, just days before the start of a new season, the Broncos have again been hit with adversity. Wide receiver Wes Welker will have to sit out four games after failing an offseason test for performance-enhancing drugs.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who broke the story, the PEDs in question are amphetamines. Welker has already lost his appeal, so Denver will be without his pass-catching prowess until Oct. 12 at the earliest. That falls in Week 6 of the NFL season; Denver has a Week 4 bye, which won’t count toward Welker’s games missed.

The suspension is obviously a blow for Peyton Manning and Co., but Schefter did point out a small silver lining:

Welker suffered his

during the preseason, and he hadn’t yet been cleared to play. So this long layoff, while embarrassing at the very least, could be a blessing in disguise if it helps Welker fully overcome his head-injury issues. In the meantime, of course, the Broncos will have to figure out how to replace a second major member of last season’s record-setting offense, as they previously had lost wide receiver Eric Decker in free agency.

Welker reportedly failed his drug test in May. That month, he was also spotted handing out $100 bills to strangers at the Kentucky Derby, and some are positing a connection.