Do the Patriots have a drug problem?
If it was Tom Brady and not Jermaine Cunningham then the topic might get a little more play on the streets today. But it was indeed the Patriots’ 24-year-old outside linebacker, and not its superstar quarterback, getting popped with a four-game suspension Monday for allegedly using performing enhancing drugs.
Cunningham is the latest NFL player to get suspended for PED use and it has become apparent that the league is cracking down on use amongst players. In the 2012 calendar year, 13 NFL players have been suspended by the league for violating the league’s substance policy, more than any other previous year.
The Patriots currently have three of those 13 players on their roster, with running back Brandon Bolden currently serving a four-game suspension and cornerback Aqib Talib having been docked four games during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Talib was acquired by the Patriots in a trade on Nov. 1.
Pats linebacker Brandon Spikes was suspended four games in 2010 for violating the league’s policy on PEDs. The most high-profile Patriots player to have been suspended for PEDs was Rodney Harrison in 2007. Harrison admitted to obtaining human growth hormone that year but said he had “never taken steroids.”
When an NFL player is suspended for PED use, the league does not release information on the specific compound that that player tested positive for. The suspended player is typically the one who reveals the source. For instance, Talib blamed his positive test on the prescription drug Adderall in October.
Several of the NFL’s suspended players have blamed the drug Adderall on their positive suspension, allowing many to make the leap that the drug is a masking agent for other PEDs.