Ian Rapoport of NFL.com has reported that Colts’ All-Pro pass rusher, Robert Mathis, has been suspended four games for violating the league’s performance enhancing drugs policy. It’s an early blow for the team to start the year, as Mathis finished with a whopping 19 1/2 sacks in 2013. His likely replacement, Bjoern Werner, was largely inconsistent in his rookie season, registering only 2.5 sacks. The team will need Werner to improve greatly and be an impact player early on. It could also mean more immediate playing time for Colts’ rookie pass rusher Jonathan Newsome, a fifth round pick from Ball State.
While the Colts could likely get by without Mathis in Weeks 3 and 4 against Jacksonville and Tennessee, he’ll be sorely missed in the team’s opener in Week 1 against QB Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. A defense has to be able to generate pressure on Manning, and if they can’t, it could spell disaster. Week 2 against QB Nick Foles and the high octane Eagles’ offense will be a challenge as well.
It’s a surprising turn of events, as Mathis has always seemed to be a man of high integrity. Rapoport has indicated that the drug Mathis tested positive for is Clomid, a fertility drug, and he allegedly had used it to help his wife become pregnant. I will refrain from passing any further judgment before we hear all the facts. However, Mathis did issue a statement via his Twitter feed, please see below: