Patriots LB Suspended for Using Banned Substance

Getty Michael Pinckney

The New England Patriots roster took a hit on Friday when the NFL dropped the suspension hammer on linebacker Michael Pinckney.

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Pinckney’s Suspension Details

Pinckney, who the Patriots signed to their practice squad last month, was reportedly suspended for six games after he tested positive for a banned substance.

According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, Pinckney “unknowingly” took the supplement while rehabbing an injury.

Critics will say what they will, but at the end of the day, no one knows but Pinckney. If he says it was a mistake, I’ll take him at his word. In any case, he could be in line for some anxious moments as it relates to his immediate future as an NFL player.

Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Bezan detailed the financial result for the team’s books after Pinckney’s suspension:

Will the Patriots Release Pinckney?

It’s possible the Patriots could release Pinckney, and that could come soon. The team brought in two players on Friday for a tryout, and if one or both are signed, it could mean a bit of a shuffle is on the way on the practice squad and perhaps the 53-man roster.

Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn is out for Sunday’s game with a calf injury. He didn’t practice all week, and that might mean he’s headed to injured reserve. If veteran wide receiver Julian Edelman is activated for next week’s game, he might be able to slide into that spot on the roster.

There are other rather fluid situations that could indirectly affect Pinckney’s spot on the practice squad and with the organization. Needless to say, the leash is usually not quite as long for practice squad players.

All Pinckney can hope for at this point is that he’s made a significant enough of an impression on his coaches that they are inclined to lobby for him to return in 2021. At this point, with a six-game suspension–unless it is reduced for some reason–he is done for the year.

What’s Left of the Patriots’ 2020 NFL Schedule?

  • Week 12 vs. Arizona Cardinals – Sunday, November 29
  • Week 13 at Los Angeles Chargers – Sunday, December 6
  • Week 14 at Los Angeles Rams – Thursday, December 10
  • Week 15 at Miami Dolphins – Sunday, December 20
  • Week 16 vs. Buffalo Bills – Monday, December 28
  • Week 17 vs. New York Jets – Sunday, January 3

The Patriots’ remaining schedule is no cakewalk, and things will get even tougher after Sunday’s clash with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and the Arizona Cardinals. The Patriots have three straight road games with back-to-back tilts at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles against the LA Chargers and LA Rams. They leave LA and will face an undoubtedly fired-up Miami Dolphins team that desperately wants to beat them after losing the season opener at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots will finish up with two games at home against the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. Let’s hope the final two games actually mean something in regards to playoff possibilities.

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