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 third concussion in 10 months 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.