The Colts' offseason just got a bit more unsettling.
Indianapolis' Weslye Saunders has been suspended the first eight games this year for violating policy on performance enhancing substances.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 18, 2013
Saunders' suspension makes three Colts in less than a month to get in hot water, and will cause people to speculate about a locker-room problem in Indianapolis. Whether that is a valid concern or not is likely more of an opinion than anything else. While it's concerning, none of the issues have been serious, and all are young guys who, outside of Lefeged, weren't going to get a ton of snaps this season any way.
For Saunders, this makes his chances of making the final roster much slimmer. Justice Cunningham already was going to push him, and now Cunningham will likely get at least eight weeks to contribute and impress the coaches. Even if Saunders does make the team, he won't count against the roster for those eight games, leaving a spot open for a third tight end, which likely will be Cunningham.
The depressing part for Saunders is that this is now a trend. Saunders was cut from the Steelers last season after a four-game suspension due to Adderall use, but was optimistic after the Colts signed him.
“When you hear performance-enhancing drugs, automatically you kind of think of some guy in the corner shooting up whatever into his veins. It was nothing like that. A one-time thing. I learned from it and am ready to roll now.”
Well, it doesn't seem to be a one-time thing. No, in fact, this issue with Saunders runs all the way back to college, and has been an issue for most of his career.
Odd career for Weslye Saunders: Investigated by NCAA in college, suspended at SoCarolina, 2 PED suspensions for Steelers and Colts. Brutal.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 18, 2013
With a concerning record of off-field and PED issues, Saunders seems like a long-shot to make the roster at best. At worst he's seriously harmed his already-slim chances at a long-term NFL career. Saunders, while possessing talent, isn't a rare enough commodity that teams will overlook his troubles off the field.
On the Colts' end of things, there is a serious question brewing after three incidents in 25 days. After not taking further action (that we know of) toward LaVon Brazill or Joe Lefeged, how do they respond to the very substantial suspension of Saunders? At some point, an example will have to be made of somebody, and Saunders seems to be a likely candidate. After all, his replacement is already on the roster, he isn't the most talented young player and he has a concerning history behind him.
No matter how you add it up, the end result is not looking good.