New Orleans Saints rookie QB Jake Haener has started his NFL career in the worst possible way. The Fresno State alum has been suspended without pay for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Haener will not play in the season’s first six games and is eligible to return to the Saints’ active roster on October 16, 2023. Along with the suspension, he will forfeit $250,000 of his $750,000 base salary this year.
Haener’s suspension is the latest list of drug-related infractions in the NFL.
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Why was Saints QB Jake Haener suspended?
According to Jake Haener, via a statement on social media:
“I recently learned that I tested positive for a prohibited substance by the NFL earlier this summer. I still do not know how the substance got into my body, as none of my supplements or prescribed medications contain the banned ingredient. I would never knowingly cheat the game I love; however I must take full responsibility for the failed test.”
“I apologize to the Saints organization, my friends, and my family for any distraction this suspension may cause. I am disappointed to be away from the team for the coming weeks, but I will learn and grow from this experience. I look forward to returning to the team as soon as possible.”
Jake Haener’s suspension is an unwelcome distraction to his team as they enter the 2023 campaign with real postseason hopes. The team has a new starting quarterback in Derek Carr and hoped that Jake Haener would compete with the Las Vegas Raiders legend alongside Jameis Winston in the Saints QB room. The New Orleans Saints are yet to release a statement on Haener’s suspension.
NFL players who were suspended for similar transgressions this year
As mentioned previously, Jake Haener is just the latest player to earn himself a suspension for violating the NFL’s strict performance-enhancing drug policy. Here are a few other cases from the past year:
1. Ronald Jones II, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
Ahead of the 2023 season, the NFL suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ronald Jones II for the initial two games of the upcoming regular season for violation of their policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Jones can still participate in practices and team meetings. However, the Dallas Cowboys could have done without his suspension, as they’re still sweating on the fitness of Pro Bowler Tony Pollard after his divisional-round injury.
2. Cam Robinson, Left Tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars
The NFL suspended Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson in June 2023 for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Robinson can return to the Jaguars’ on October 2, 2023. He is set to lose $888,888 for each game suspended for $3,555,552. To make matters worse, the PED suspension voids the guarantee of his $16 million base salary in 2023.
3. Amani Bledsoe, Defensive End, Atlanta Falcons
On May 2, 2023, the NFL suspended Bledsoe for the first 17 weeks of the upcoming 2023 regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
This suspension will see Bledsoe miss all but one regular season game in 2023. He could only make any impact if the Atlanta Falcons manage to make the postseason. That was Bledsoe’s second PED suspension, as he was suspended in 2022 for the season’s first six games.
4. Sean Chandler, Safety, Free Agent
Sean Chandler is set to serve a two-game suspension to start the 2023 NFL season. Chandler violated the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Chandler was a member of the Carolina Panthers at the time of the suspension but didn’t get an extension ahead of the 2023 season. It remains to be seen if or when he’ll earn a new NFL contract.