The NFL handed down four suspensions last week, including one for San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. Gates received a big four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy by testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers came to the conclusion that Gates didn’t intentionally break any rules.

“I feel like our relationship is such that if it was intentional, he would say, ‘I messed up. I’ve been doing this, I made a mistake, I just couldn’t do it anymore the way I was doing it.’ You know what I mean?”

The news that future Hall of Fame TE Antonio Gates will be forced to sit out the first four games of the 2015 NFL season just adds to the misery of the offseason. QB Philip Rivers has turned down a contract extension. Free safety Eric Weddle demands an extension by training camp or he will leave town. Owner Dean Spanos has aggravated civic leaders and fans as well as neglecting a local task force that is pursuing plans for a new stadium. A new home in Carson, CA is a distinct possibility.

The San Diego Chargers won't be the first team with Super Bowl aspirations to see the team hit rockbottom. It happened just a few years ago to a team that has bounced back from the depths of despair to be the model franchise of the NFL. The New England Patriots player in question will likely make it to Canton, OH just as Antonio Gates will.

CBC News:
December 20, 2000 - Cornerback Ty Law was suspended for the New England Patriots' season finale after being caught at the Canadian border with the drug ecstasy. The players went to a strip club across the border, and when Law attempted to cross the border at 5:30 a.m. Monday to catch his return flight, U.S. Customs inspectors searched the car and found some pills later identified as MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.

In offering an apology Tuesday, Law said the drugs were found in a suitcase that belonged to a cousin who stayed at his home.

"I had no idea that it was in the bag," he said, offering to take a drug test to prove he is clean.

Excuses are the easy way out. It is generally the lab's fault that somebody screwed up the tests. The cousin was clueless. The dog must have eaten the results. The chain of custody was broken. Joining a long list of disbelievers, Philip Rivers further added: “Could I be wrong? I guess. But I don’t think so.”

If Philip Rivers were right, it would be a first.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

Paul Murphy 7/08/2015 12:07:00 PM Edit

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