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NFL hands suspensions to Wes Welker and Jim Irsay

Wes Welker has been suspended four games
Wes Welker has been suspended four games
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On Tuesday Sep 2, 2014, the NFL announced two more suspensions. Denver Broncos slot receiver Wes Welker will not have to go through the normal angst involved with waiting out concussion protocol. No matter how badly Welker wants to get back on the field with his Denver Broncos teammates, the earliest he will play, is in Week 5 against the New York Jets. This is all due to the star slot receiver having tested positive for a banned substance, back in the early part of May 2014. Indeed, Welker has been suspended for four games, for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The substance was an amphetamine which Welker ingested during this year's Kentucky Derby horse race. Welker had his appeal hearing on Aug 20-21, and the final decision came down on Sep 2.

Also on Sep 2, the NFL handed down the long-awaited suspension for Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. The league had been waiting for the legal process to play out, before deciding what type of punishment the vociferous team owner would receive. The process was quick. Jim Irsay pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated, on Tuesday morning, and the NFL handed down punishment just hours later. Irsay had been arrested on Mar. 16, 2014 after a traffic stop near his home. During the legal process, Irsay admitted to having had painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system.

The punishment to Irsay will be a $500,000 fine, and a six game ban from any team-related activities. In effect, Irsay is banned from the team facilities, cannot attend games or practices, nor can he represent the team in any way while the ban is in effect. Irsay is being punished under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

The Colts will open the season this Sunday night, against the Denver Broncos. The season-opener is a huge primetime game which both Welker and Irsay probably had circled on the calendar for months. As it stands now, neither Welker the player, nor Irsay the owner, will even be at the stadium.