ITEM: Joe Haden facing four-game suspension
ESPN Cleveland reported that the NFL is currently reviewing a failed drug test by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden that could result in a four-game suspension.
According to the report, one source said that Haden tested positive for the prescription drug Adderall during a routine, offseason test. Adderall, which is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy, is also used for excessive tiredness. It is on the NFL’s list of banned substances and is classified by the league as a stimulant.
According to the report, Haden has been notified that he tested positive. Under terms of the league policy, a positive test results in a second test from the original sample. If that shows up positive as well, Haden would be suspended for the first four games of the regular season.
“It’s really a league matter. I can’t comment on it now,” Haden said.
Coach Pat Shurmur said, “I don’t anything about what was reported, and if I did I couldn’t comment.”
A subsequent report on Profootballtalk.com cited “locker room scuttlebutt” as being that in Cleveland is that Haden tested positive for Adderall after taking the medication as a “pick-me-up” during an offseason visit to Las Vegas.
Also, running back Trent Richardson, one of the team’s two No. 1 draft picks and the fourth overall selection, had surgery to clean up loose cartilage in his knee a little more than six months after an operation to repair a torn meniscus.
“Trent Richardson underwent a successful routine arthroscopic procedure today on his left knee,” Shurmur said in a statement released by the team. “It was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. We anticipate that Trent will make a speedy recovery, and we are hopeful that he will be ready for our Week One game against Philadelphia.”
Losing Richardson for the rest of the preseason won’t help the offense, because the plan was to have four rookies – Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden, wide receiver Josh Gordon and tackle Mitchell Schwartz – serve as the foundation of that unit.
ITEM: LG Wharton is lost for the season
Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and left guard Travelle Wharton all sustained knee injuries in the Cincinnati Bengals preseason opener.
Maualuga told Bengals.com that his injury was sufficiently minor that he should return to practice this week; Coach Marvin Lewis told Bengals.com that Dunlap will miss a month; and the news on Wharton was all bad.
Wharton, who signed as an unrestricted free agent to start at left guard in place of Nate Livings who had left the team as an unrestricted free agent, tore the ACL in his right knee and will be lost for the season. Wharton, in his ninth NFL season, was set to be one of two new starters on the offensive line.
As of now, it appears that Wharton’s spot will be filled by Clint Boling, a second-year pro who struggled in his three starts at right guard last year as a rookie.
Boling stepped in when Wharton was hurt during last Friday’s 17-6 win over the Jets and was with the first unit during practice Sunday. Boling will be with the first unit for Thursday’s second preseason game at Atlanta.
“He’s done a great job in camp and obviously he is way ahead of where he was a year ago and he’ll do fine,” offensive line coach Paul Alexander told Cincinnati.com. “He’s smart, competitive and he’ll be a good player.”
“Obviously last year I didn’t play the way that I would have liked to,” Boling said. “I would have liked to keep starting, but I didn’t do a good enough job and I didn’t earn a spot. Obviously it was a big learning experience for me and I know a lot of what to expect this year and I feel that’s definitely going to prepare me.”
ITEM: Team doesn’t panic over injuries to TEs
The Baltimore Ravens are dealing with injuries to their top two tight ends – Ed Dickson (sprained right shoulder) and Dennis Pitta (broken right hand) – and even though both will miss the rest of the preseason the team has not signed anyone to bolster the position.
“I don’t know. We’ll just have to see,” Coach John Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun. “It’s not just needing a guy, it’s also guys being available that you think can play, and if they can stay healthy. There is no point in bringing a guy in and he gets hurt. Then we just have one more hurt guy to deal with, and then it can affect your salary cap. So it’s a little bit of a balancing act, and you have to make really good, wise decisions. It’s always good to bring in a player if he is right guy. It’s not good if he is not the right guy.”
Among the unsigned players at the position are Jeremy Shockey (formerly of the Carolina Panthers) and Bo Scaife (Cincinnati Bengals). Daniel Graham recently signed with the New Orleans Saints.
The team does have four tight ends on the roster, but Davon Drew has yet to catch a pass in four seasons with the team, Billy Bajema was signed Aug. 1, and Matt Balasavage and Bruce Figgins are rookies.