DENVER: Denver Broncos’ receiver Wes Welker was suspended four games yesterday by the National Football League for violating the NFL performance-enhancing drug policy, a major setback for a Super Bowl squad.
Welker caught 73 passes for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns last year in his first season with the Broncos after leaving New England, becoming a favoured target for star quarterback Peyton Manning.
A powerful part of the NFL’s most productive scoring attack in history, Welker helped Denver reach the Super Bowl last season, where the Broncos were humbled 43-8 by Seattle.
Welker tested positive for amphetamines in May, according to the NFL’s website, and on Tuesday learned that he had lost his appeal.
Welker, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, had just returned to practice on Monday after suffering a concussion during a pre-season game against Houston, his third concussion in the past 10 months.
Denver will lose Welker for games at home Sunday against Indianapolis and September 14 against Kansas City, a Super Bowl rematch September 21 at Seattle and October 5 at home against Arizona.
Welker will be able to play for the first time when the Broncos visit the New York Jets on October 12, their first return visit to the stadium where they lost to Seahawks in February.