(Updated 6 p.m.)
Tight end Fred Davis has been suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the league announced Wednesday.
Davis’s suspension is without pay and begins immediately, according to the written announcement, which was released by the Washington Redskins and was attributed to an NFL spokesperson.
Davis said in a written statement released by the NFL Players Association that his violation related to a banned substance contained in a supplement.
“I would like to clarify the circumstances that resulted in my current suspension,” Davis said in the written statement. “In the past, I made the mistake of knowingly ingesting a banned substance. For over two years, I’ve worked very hard to eliminate marijuana from my life, and I have not had a positive test for it since 2011. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago I took a supplement that contained a banned substance. I now know that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may contain banned substances.
“The NFL Policy is strict, and not knowing that a supplement might contain a banned substance doesn’t excuse a violation of the policy. I’ve worked closely with the NFLPA and NFL to resolve this violation, and I will be permitted to apply for reinstatement in the fall. I look forward to staying in football shape, remaining in compliance with the NFL policy, and having a chance to get back on the field to contribute to a team’s success next season.”
The NFL announced in its written statement that Davis had been suspended for “violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.” That is separate from the sport’s policy on banned performance-enhancing substances, formally known as the policy on anabolic steroids and related substances. People familiar with the sport’s drug-testing programs said it is possible for a supplement to contain a substance banned under either of the NFL’s testing programs.
Davis was not available for further comment and his representatives declined to comment.
Davis, who was suspended for the final four games of the 2011 season for violating the substance abuse policy, is eligible for free agency this offseason. He has spent his entire six-year NFL career with the Redskins. Davis had only seven catches in 10 games last season as rookie Jordan Reed took over as the team’s primary pass-catching threat at tight end.
Even before this suspension, it was unclear if the Redskins were interested in re-signing Davis. Davis became a fairly regular fixture on the team’s game-day inactive list last season.
There was speculation that he might be traded before the NFL’s trading deadline, although he wasn’t. At one point, he defended his work habits after being asked by reporters about speculation that he’d fallen out of favor with the Redskins’ former coaches because of how he practiced and issues such as falling asleep during team meetings. Davis said before a group of reporters in October that he’d “never slept through a whole meeting but I’ve nodded off.”
Redskins left tackle Trent Williams also was suspended for the final four games of that season.
Davis has 162 catches for 2,043 yards and 13 touchdowns in six NFL seasons. His most productive season came in 2011 when he had 59 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games before his suspension.