In surprising news, three top players — Antonio Gates, Sheldon Richardson and Rolando McClain — were suspended for failing drug tests.

Antonio Gates Suspended

Over the last two years, Antonio Gates had a bit of a career resurgence. He caught 146 passes for 1,693 yards and 16 touchdowns — 12 of which came in 2014. However, the NFL just announced that Gates failed a drug test and thus violated the company’s policy on PEDs. Therefore, he has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season.

“In an effort to recover from a long season and although I was unaware at the time, I regret to confirm that I tested positive for a substance that is currently on the NFL banned substance list,” Gates said in press release. “As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines.  I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues, and I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me.”

Gates, whose legacy took a bit of a hit with this suspension, is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. In his 12 year career, he has 788 receptions, over 10,000 yards and 99 touchdowns.

Sheldon Richardson Suspended

Sheldon Richardson is a talented defensive tackle that came out of the Jets’ 2013 draft class. And now, he has been suspended the first four games for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse. And while the NFL does not usually disclose the reason behind the suspension, Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News confirmed it was for marijuana.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans,” Richardson said in a press release. “However, words aren’t enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”

In two seasons with the Jets, Richardson had 144 combined tackles and 11.5 sacks.

Rolando McClain Suspended

Rolando McClain had some problems in the past, but a lot of people expected that trouble to be behind him. After washing out from the Raiders and retiring twice, he had a career resurgence with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014.

Filling in for the injured Sean Lee, McClain had 81 combined tackles, one sack and two interceptions in 13 games. Basically, he helped carry a defense that many folks expected to be terrible. However, now it appears his off-the-field issues are back, as he was just suspended the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. This is McClain’s second failed drug test in 2015.

“I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake,” McClain said in a press release. “I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error. I look forward to returning to the field on week five, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.”

This hurts McClain the most, as his contract, which is worth $3 million, is based mostly in incentives.

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