Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker has been suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league’s policy against performance enhancing substances. According to multiple reports on news outlets, Welker tested positive for a banned amphetamine.
Welker has been among the most prolific pass catchers in the NFL in recent years; he led the league in pass receptions during three of his seasons with the New England Patriots (2007, ’09, ’11) and last season he caught a career-high 10 TDs as part of Denver’s record-setting offense.
In recent days, there’s been speculation that Welker would not be healthy enough to play during Week 1 of the 2014 season after he suffered his third concussion in a 10-month period. Welker has been progressing through the recovery from the concussion and there was still a chance he might be ready to play when the Broncos face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night. Now, however, Welker will be sidelined for the next four games. He is eligible to work out with the team but cannot be on the sidelines on game day.
Welker’s absence opens the door for Andre Caldwell and potentially rookie Cody Latimer to see increased action and targets. Neither player checks in as anything more than a WR4, though, as the Broncos have plenty of other weapons at Peyton Manning’s disposal in the passing game.