New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman released a statement Friday saying he didn’t know how he could have tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, which drew him a four-game NFL suspension on Thursday.
“I am very sorry — I don’t know what happened,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’ve taken many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened. I apologize to the Kraft family, my coaches, teammates and fans. As the matter is being appealed, I can’t say anymore but no matter what, I will be ready to play and pursue another championship with out team and for Patriots fans around the world.”
Edelman, who turned 32 last month, tore his ACL in the Patriots’ third preseason game last year and missed all of the team’s Super Bowl run. He was coming off a 2016 season in which he caught 98 passes for a career-high 1,106 yards, three of them for touchdowns. Should he lose his appeal, he will miss games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions and Dolphins and forfeit $470,588.20 in base salary.
As noted by ESPN, there is precedent for a player winning an appeal of a PED suspension. In 2012, Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman’s suspension was overturned on appeal late in the season by an arbitrator after the player successfully argued that mistakes were made with the chain of custody on his urine sample. Specifically, he said the first specimen cup used had a leak, prompting the collector to use a second cup, which his lawyers claimed was a breach of protocol.
“We just had to prove the case,” Sherman’s agent, Kevin Poston, told USA Today at the time. “They made mistakes with his sample, and the truth came out.”
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