New York Giants outside linebacker Ryan Anderson has been suspended by the NFL without pay for the first six games of the 2021 NFL regular season. Per a statement by an NFL spokesperson shared on the Giants’ official website, Anderson’s suspension stems from violating the NFL Policy and Program on Performance Enhancing Substances.
Anderson will be permitted to participate in New York’s final preseason game on Sunday, August 29th vs. the New England Patriots. However, he won’t be eligible to return to the Giants’ active roster until Monday, October 18th, following the team’s Week 6 contest against the Los Angeles Rams.
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Anderson’s Agent Responds
In a statement obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Anderson’s agent Chad Wiestling notes that his client takes “full responsibility” for his actions. Wiestling also goes out of his way to push back at the notion that Anderson tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
I was made aware of Ryan’s positive test of a banned substance prior to training camp and have worked with the league and NFLPA [through] the process. Ryan takes full responsibility for his mistake and apologizes to the New York Giants organization and their fan base. To be clear, the positive test was not for a performance-enhancing drug. Rather it was for a substance that is included on the NFL banned substance list. Nevertheless, Ryan acknowledges it is his responsibility to understand and control what goes into his body. Ryan will continue to prepare and be ready to play after Week 6.
Anderson Unlikely to Make Giants Roster
When the Giants inked Anderson to a one-year contract this offseason, the hope was that he could realize his potential amongst an edge-rush group that could certainly use the boost. Yes, the team did add a few promising pieces alongside Anderson this offseason, namely rookies Azeez Ojulari and Elerson Smith. Still, it’s a unit that returns a total of just 2.5 sacks from last season.
However, instead of making waves this summer for his on-field play, Anderson continues to find his name in the news for everything but that. For starters, he began training camp on the non-football injury (NFI) list after sustaining a back injury away from the team. The ailment kept Anderson sidelined for the first two weeks of camp, quickly falling behind in the pecking order.
Earlier this month it looked as if the Giants proactively opted to wipe their hands of Anderson when they waived the 27-year-old. However, it turned out that his release was simply a “procedural matter” related to his contract, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic. Anderson was quickly re-signed the following day.
Yet, Anderson’s time away from the team may very well have been a precursor for what’s bound to come. While New York’s pass rush unit may be relatively unproven, it is deep with intrigue and talent. Even before his suspension, Anderson was nowhere to be found on the team’s unofficial depth chart at either strongside linebacker or outside linebacker position. Instead, he was tossed in as a third-teamer at the weakside linebacker spot behind Tae Crowder and Devante Downs. This, despite the fact that Anderson is listed as a defensive end on the team’s official roster.
The writing has been on the wall all offseason. As New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard highlights, this latest hiccup is simply icing on the cake.
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