Steelers’ Saunders to Return after Week 5
When Weslye Saunders was handed his fine it was stated as a four week suspension for a positive drug test. Following the positive test the general consensus was that Saunders would be available following week 4 and would only miss 3 games due to the bye week for the Steelers in week 4. The NFL has now contacted the Steelers and Saunders and let them know that he will not be allowed to return until week 6 of the season.
It is believed that Saunders positive testing came from using Adderall to combat ADD. Adderall is an approved drug in the NFL, but a player using it must have notified the NFL of their use. Saunders had not notified the NFL and has been suspended for the positive test. He is not the only player to have served a suspension for testing positive for taking Adderall. One other player who had been suspended for using the drug won an appeal to have his suspension overturned; Saunders was not as lucky.
During the off-season Saunders fought the suspension without much luck. He will return to the team for their week 6 match-up in Tennessee on Thursday Night Football. His status on the team currently is on the suspended list which means he does not count against the 53-man roster. It is believed that when he is added to the roster that back-up tight end David Paulson will be cut and that the Steelers will try to sign him to their practice squad.
Saunders is more of a pass catching tight end and will provide one more weapon in the passing game for Ben Roethlisberger, who is already off to a career year passing the ball. The Steelers will also hope that Saunders blocking skills at tight end may help some in the running game.
Per NFL rules players serving a suspension are unpaid. Therefore Saunders will miss paychecks during each week of his suspension. He should, however, only have to lose 4 paychecks as the extra week (due to the bye week) should not affect his pay. Other players serving suspensions will only miss four weeks of the season and will be eligible for their teams in week 5.