Jets DT Shepherd suspended 6 games, admits PED use
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New York Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd told NFL Media he took performance-enhancing drugs this offseason and is facing a six-game suspension following two separate failed drug tests.
Shepherd told Tom Pelissero in a story published Tuesday that the failed tests came on June 27 and July 25, after he took PEDs to compensate for his inability to train while recovering from sports-hernia surgery and shoulder and back injuries.
"I was so prepared to come into this offseason and have a successful offseason and train very hard," Shepherd said. "I felt that because of these limitations, I wasn't going to be able to do that. I made a rash decision, an unwise decision and a selfish decision to look to certain PEDs in order to help me with that recovery process so I would be ready to go."
Shepherd was a healthy scratch in Sunday's season opener, and his suspension has not been officially announced by the league. The NFL could have administered a 14-game suspension -- four for the first violation and 10 for the second -- but the two failed tests will instead be punished by a single six-game suspension.
"The only competitive advantage I was really looking for was being able to come to camp healthy and having an opportunity to compete," Shepherd told Pelissero. "I'm grateful to the league for showing some understanding, leniency and fairness, and I appreciate them dealing with it in a timely manner."
Shepherd, who turned 26 on Tuesday, was a third-round pick out of Fort Hays State in 2018. He played in 16 games (five starts) as a rookie, notching 15 tackles (one for loss) and five quarterback hits.