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hawaiiansteel
05-25-2012, 09:07 PM
Fight for Survival

by Jim Wexell - SteelCityInsider.net
Posted May 25, 2012

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/107/1071293.jpg

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for troubled but talented Steelers tight end Weslye Saunders? He's not sure. He's just fighting for his career right now.

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers filed off the practice field past reporters and into the locker room with the enthusiasm of a group of kids getting out of school for summer.
These guys though were leaving football for a four-day holiday.

One of the big tight ends, Weslye Saunders, heard some jabs. Those were cloaked as paternalistic advice.

“Don’t do anything stupid tonight, Wes,” said one teammate.

“I don’t want to read about you tomorrow morning, Wes,” said another.

Were they parroting something they had just heard? Did Mike Tomlin just give one of his infamous post-practice/pre-holiday lectures? The one in which he warns the whipping boy du jour not to be “that guy”?

Well, Saunders is certainly a whipping boy these days. And he had better not be “that guy.”

“I’m behind the eight-ball more than I was last year,” Saunders said after Thursday’s third OTA at the Steelers’ practice facility.

“This is going to be tougher making the team this year than it was last year.”

Saunders is walking on eggshells right now because he has a four-game suspension hanging over his head at the start of the upcoming season.

Saunders indicated he has appealed the suspension, and can’t talk about the details, but earlier Saunders had tweeted that the suspension is for Adderall, normally used to treat Attentive Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The amphetamine aspect of the drug is also used to treat narcolepsy and to lose weight.

Another tweet by Saunders seemed to indicate the drug was his younger brother’s. But …

“I didn’t get it from my brother,” he said Thursday. “But it was a one-time occurrence. Out of a handful of tests, it was one test. It’s not like I’m a habitual user.”

Saunders was notified by the league about his suspension after the Super Bowl, and the guy who made the 2011 Steelers as an undrafted rookie – after having been forced off his college team – had reason to be gravely concerned about his career.

“Coming from what I came from you never know what people’s perception’s going to be,” Saunders said. “Was that the last straw? Was I out of here? As of right now I still have my job and I’m still working hard. That’s all I can ask for.”

Saunders heard from the Steelers (“they were definitely pissed”) and they told Saunders he had no excuse for not previously notifying the league what he was putting into his body.

“It was a big deal, and I was frustrated not being able to speak on it and everybody thinking it was illegal drugs and ‘this guy is a troublemaker; we should’ve seen this coming.’ It was just unfortunate. I apologize to the Steelers organization for bringing this unwanted attention on. If nothing else, I’m a rookie and this kind of thing will never happen again. Things are still pending right now and hopefully things will turn out my way.”

Saunders is entering his second season, but could've used a true rookie spring and summer last year.

“I’m not going to make excuses, but right now is when the rookies coming in are learning about what you can take and what you can’t take,” Saunders said. “Last year there was the lockout and we came straight from the house to Latrobe pretty much, so there was no real prep in that. But as a grown man I’m supposed to be responsible for everything that goes in my body.”

The 6-foot-5 Saunders is already in playing shape and has again put his deep speed, big body and soft hands on display during this first week of spring practices. His vast potential is the reason the suspension and subsequent place on the team matters in the first place. After all, he only caught 4 passes for 29 yards and 1 touchdown last season.

But now the guy with all of the potential is scared to death that he’s thrown it all away, and is determined to get into the best shape of his life before training camp.

“Oh, it’s about to get ugly soon,” Saunders said of his summer plans. “I want to go to Arizona with Ryan Clark and all those guys. It’s kind of pricey out there. Hopefully they can cut me a deal or something.”

The Steelers appear to be utilizing Saunders this spring as if they have plans for him this coming season. Saunders took that assessment with a look of surprise.

“I can only hope,” he said. “You never know. That’s the thing I learned about this league: You can never be too sure. I don’t want to be the guy who’s relaxing. I know we brought in some other tight ends for a reason and they’re trying to make a statement.”

Saunders gets it. He knows he’s down to his last strike. He knows he can’t be “that guy” again.

http://pit.scout.com/2/1189441.html

Shawn
05-25-2012, 10:42 PM
Wesley, last time I checked taking adderall without a prescription IS indeed illegal. Its no less illegal than smoking crack. I would be more encouraged if he were owning this without minimizing.

Flasteel
05-25-2012, 11:15 PM
Wesley, last time I checked taking adderall without a prescription IS indeed illegal. Its no less illegal than smoking crack. I would be more encouraged if he were owning this without minimizing.

Exactly. What was up with that one time deal he mentioned? Did he take it to get high once? Did he think he had a touch of ADHD and wanted to see how it worked for him?

If that's the basis of his appeal, then he shouldn't even bother.

Va Steelr
05-26-2012, 12:05 AM
still think this kid can help us,but his judgement is questionable to say the least.Hope he figures it out !!!

Shawn
05-26-2012, 06:13 AM
Exactly. What was up with that one time deal he mentioned? Did he take it to get high once? Did he think he had a touch of ADHD and wanted to see how it worked for him?

If that's the basis of his appeal, then he shouldn't even bother.

Agreed, his immaturity is dripping off his statement. I hear "it was only once" all the time. Its rarely true. I would much prefer to hear, hey I wanted to try it and see how I practiced, played, how high it got me...etc. At least that is honest.

Slapstick
05-26-2012, 07:30 AM
And the judgment is dripping off of this thread...

Crash
05-26-2012, 09:17 AM
Yeah cut Saunders a break, it's not like he violated written rules of the NFL SAP or anything.....

Shawn
05-27-2012, 12:33 AM
And the judgment is dripping off of this thread...

You won't get a lot of sympathy here. If he is struggling with addiction then by all means get the man some help. If not, it's just another ignorant act by a guy who has been given a lot of chances.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
05-28-2012, 10:43 AM
Hopefully hanging out with the AZ crew of workout warriors will help with the maturity. After all, this is the type of locker room leadership that we always talk about that separates the Steelers from most other organizations.

Slapstick
05-28-2012, 11:08 AM
You won't get a lot of sympathy here. If he is struggling with addiction then by all means get the man some help. If not, it's just another ignorant act by a guy who has been given a lot of chances.

Sympathy, shmympathy...

I'm merely staing that you have never walked the proverbial mile in this man's shoes...

You read a snippet of an article and/or a quote taken out of context, and suddenly you are informed...

It boggles the mind...

NorthCoast
05-28-2012, 11:14 AM
"Another tweet by Saunders seemed to indicate the drug was his younger brother’s. But "

So it wasnt his brother's, so it was only one time, .... maybe he doesnt want to spoil his appeal with all the details, but it sounds like he isnt really owning it.
We all make mistakes, but what drives me nuts is the lack of responsibility when caught. We see it almost daily, like it is an automatic response to whatever deed was committed.

Crash
05-28-2012, 01:58 PM
Saunders blew it. All he had to do was make ONE PHONE CALL. To their team doctors and ask them if he could take that medicine.

Every year, the NFL sends a list of banned over the counter pills etc. to every team. All he had to do was ask.

birtikidis
05-28-2012, 03:28 PM
I agree with Crash. He shoulda Known better. I understand that because of the lockout he didn't get that information prior to the start of the season. Unless he lives under a rock though, he should have known better.

Slapstick
05-28-2012, 03:30 PM
Yep. And he'll either serve his four game suspension or he'll win his appeal and not serve or serve fewer than four...

Then, hopefully, a lesson is learned and life will go on...

Shawn
05-28-2012, 07:41 PM
Sympathy, shmympathy...

I'm merely staing that you have never walked the proverbial mile in this man's shoes...

You read a snippet of an article and/or a quote taken out of context, and suddenly you are informed...

It boggles the mind...

I have enough information to make a reasonable judgment about this situation. It's not about calling him a bad man. It's about referring to actions as bone headed. He took adderall "once"... It wasn't prescribed or it wouldnt had been "once". There is zero...and I mean no legit reason for him to take adderall without a prescription. And I would also challenge him taking it with a prescription considering the rules of the NFL. Consider this upon the back drop of his history, and you have to call bone headed...bone headed. He is already walking a very thin line.

As for judging the man...that I don't do. Sounds like immaturity, but I have been there and done that myself. Didn't make my actions any less boneheaded.

hawaiiansteel
06-01-2012, 04:50 PM
then shouldn't Weslye Saunders get his suspension lifted also since he too tested positive for Adderall?


New York Giants running back Andre Brown has four-game ban lifted

by SI.com
6/1/12

http://sitracking.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/brown.jpg

New York Giants back Andre Brown had his four-game ban lifted.

The NFL says that New York Giants running back Andre Brown had his four-game suspension lifted Friday.

The NFL suspended Brown for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Brown appealed the suspension.

“I don’t know what I can and cannot say,” Brown told CBSSports.com last month. “It was something that I’ve been on since I’ve been in the league, which was Adderall. I just forgot to fill out some paperwork and that was it.”

Brown has only carried the ball twice in career for negative-1 yard with the Denver Broncos in 2010. He spent 2011 season on the Giants practice squad and signed a Reserve/Futures contract in February.

http://tracking.si.com/2012/06/01/new-york-giants-andre-brown-ban-lifted/

phillyesq
06-01-2012, 05:36 PM
then shouldn't Weslye Saunders get his suspension lifted also since he too tested positive for Adderall?

I think part of it will depend on whether Saunders actually had a prescription and when he started taking it. If he did, the league might reduce the suspension by a game like they did for the Houston punter.

Shawn
06-01-2012, 08:44 PM
If he took it "once", said he didn't get it from his brother, didn't mention anything about having ADHD, the likelihood of him having a script is about zero.

Also, I'm shocked the league allows adderall. It would clearly enhance performance. Just because someone has a script doesn't mean the med wouldn't create an unfair advantage.

hawaiiansteel
06-05-2012, 03:59 PM
Giants RB Andre Brown Has Suspension Lifted, Why Not Weslye Saunders'?

by Neal Coolong on Jun 4, 2012

CBS Sports' Alex Raskin recently reported Giants RB Andre Brown - suspended for a violation of the league's policy against performance-enhancing drugs - has been exonerated, and his four-game suspension has been lifted.

Brown told CBS Sports, via Sports Illustrated, "It was something that I've been on since I've been in the league, which was Adderall. I just forgot to fill out some paperwork and that was it."

We wrote back in February signs pointed to a drug of similar nature, and a slip-of-the-mind on the part of Steelers TE Weslye Saunders, as the reason why the Steelers second-year tight end received the same four-game suspension.

So what gives?

Of course, the league will not divulge such information (and this isn't confirming Saunders was suspended for the same reason, but both Mark Kaboly and Dejan Kovacevic of the Tribune-Review largely indicated that was the case, as we wrote in February). Brown openly admitted his mistake, being that Adderall, an ADHD medication, is an amphetamine, a drug test taken by a player who's on it will result in testing positive for a banned substance.

The protocol seems to be the player filing paperwork (likely with accompanying doctor's confirmation and/or the confirmation of a pharmacist), thus explaining the positive test before it comes back.

As we wrote, Saunders' situation appeared to be very similar in nature, if not exactly the same thing as Brown. It's a fair question to wonder what exactly Saunders would need to do in the event of his appeal, and if it's possible that appeal will result in the overturn of his suspension.

It'd be a good time for it, too. Recent reports indicate offensive coordinator Todd Haley wants to get Steelers' tight ends more involved with the offense. Saunders, the team's second-best receiving tight end behind Heath Miller, was thought highly of this offseason in terms of 2012 production before the suspension hit.

Saunders will not count against the team's 53-man roster until his suspension ends. The Steelers signed veteran TE Leonard Pope this offseason, and have moved David Johnson to fullback.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/6/4/3062332/giants-rb-andre-brown-has-suspension-lifted-why-not-weslye-saunders

Chadman
06-05-2012, 08:44 PM
If he's messed up, and it's proven, he's gone. Another talented schmuck that moves to the scrapheap. Or the Bengals. (It could be argued that they are 1 & the same).

If it's an honest mistake, he makes the roster.

Don't care much for excuses- these guys get plenty of perks thrown their way- so they should, at the least, be held accountable for their actions. Mike Adams failed the drug test at the Combine. He didn't hide, or blame others. He took responsibility. That's the move of a man. Chadman has far more time for someone who owns their mistakes, rather than find reasons as to the how's & why's it happened. Hopefully it's all a big mix-up, and Saunders can move forward & fulfill his talent.

But if he's just another schmuck, don't go feeling too sorry for him.

Flasteel
06-05-2012, 10:59 PM
What in the hell is wrong with all of these players? How do they not know Adderall is on the banned substances list? I know it's banned and have known for a number of years...and I'm not subject to having my piss analyzed by the NFL. You would think it was mentioned at some point in the rookie symposium...or their agent would have that question as SOP for all of his clients...or that their doctor would inform them that it renders a non-negative hit for amphetamines on any type of U/A screen. How does it get past all of those layers and then the common sense to investigate the ramifications of anything you are putting into your body?

As far as Saunders...I'm obviously ignorant of all the facts involved, but from what was originally posted in this thread, it would appear he had no prescription and decided to "try" it once. If that's the case, then it's not likely he's going to get his suspension lifted or even reduced. It would also mean (at least to me) that his suspension is completely warranted on the grounds of stupidity alone.

Slapstick
06-06-2012, 08:10 AM
If he took it "once", said he didn't get it from his brother, didn't mention anything about having ADHD, the likelihood of him having a script is about zero.

Also, I'm shocked the league allows adderall. It would clearly enhance performance. Just because someone has a script doesn't mean the med wouldn't create an unfair advantage.

I think that the view is that Adderall "levels the playing field" for those with ADHD...if you don't allow them to take a legitimate, doctor prescribed medication, isn't that a form of discrimination?

Crash
06-06-2012, 01:07 PM
I think that the view is that Adderall "levels the playing field" for those with ADHD...if you don't allow them to take a legitimate, doctor prescribed medication, isn't that a form of discrimination?

Nope. Violations are violations in the NFL's world. The real world doesn't matter.

RuthlessBurgher
06-06-2012, 01:48 PM
You would think it was mentioned at some point in the rookie symposium.

Undrafted free agent rookies like Wes Saunders are not invited to the NFL Rookie Symposium, only rookie draft picks.

Shawn
06-06-2012, 01:54 PM
I think that the view is that Adderall "levels the playing field" for those with ADHD...if you don't allow them to take a legitimate, doctor prescribed medication, isn't that a form of discrimination?

There are other non stimulant meds that treat Adderall. As for discrimination...I wouldn't think so. Lets say you have a double amputee, and he uses some sort of new robotic technology that allows him to run faster than most human beings. Should he be allowed to compete with these mechanical limbs?

Flasteel
06-06-2012, 06:43 PM
I think that the view is that Adderall "levels the playing field" for those with ADHD...if you don't allow them to take a legitimate, doctor prescribed medication, isn't that a form of discrimination?

To my knowledge you can take it, but it needs to be prescribed and reported to the league...it would be the same as an opioid painkiller, which is part of the recreational testing program. Taken in normal prescription parameters, Adderall poses no problems and would give a player no edge. Taken in higher doses it increases alertness, attention, and energy...thus providing an edge. Players slam 5-hour energy and other energy drinks like it's water in the desert, just to get those same advantages. I'm sure a few Adderall would be significantly more beneficial in that regard.

Shoe
06-07-2012, 01:23 AM
And the judgment is dripping off of this thread...

It is what it is. If this was Ben (i.e. a star), it'd be minimized. Since it's Saunders (i.e. a ham and egger), no one cares to cut him any slack. Nor should we. If you are a scrub, you better not cause the team or fans any sort of displacement. As it stands, I wouldn't bat an eye if they dropped this guy.

Oviedo
06-07-2012, 08:24 AM
The fact that Saunders is still on the roster and working out with the team pretty much should tell you that the Steelers see something there worth keeping and working with.

If this had been a huge issue to them he would have been gone by now.

Shawn
06-07-2012, 08:58 AM
There is little doubt in my mind that Adderall taken even with normal dosing would provide a competitive edge. So, I am indeed surprised the league allows it.