Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is hoping for an agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) which would eventually pave the way for a new drug policy, possibly resulting in suspended Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker's reinstatement as early as this week.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is hoping for an agreement bewteen the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) which will pave the way for a new drug policy.
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The said policy may result in suspended Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker's reinstatement "as early as this week," per ESPN's Jeff Legwold:
"Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning expressed hope Wednesday that negotiations between the NFL and NFL Players Association would result in approval of a new drug policy, clearing the way for wide receiver Wes Welker's reinstatement as soon as this week.
"Welker was suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs and served the first game for the suspension Sunday. Broncos officials and players believe a new policy would change the criteria of Welker's suspension and allow for his reinstatement.
"'It's hard to say. We've tried to say abreast of what's going on,' Manning said after Wednesday's practice. 'I've been in contact with Wes. I know he's chomping at the bit to get back. I know he's here in town. Obviously it would be great to get him back.
"The Broncos have prepared for the possibility. Since releasing wide receiver Nathan Palmer on Tuesday, the Broncos have kept their roster at 52 players to allow for a potential move of Welker from reserve/suspended to the roster if a new policy is put into place.
"'We had the call (with NFLPA officials) last night. Didn't get the news that we wanted, but something was going on today,' Manning said. 'Jacob Tamme was on the call, along with Von (Miller), so talked to them this morning. It would be great if they got it resolved today and we got Wes back.'
"NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith addressed the possibility that a new drug policy could lead to reinstatement for Welker and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. In an interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., where the NFLPA's executive offices are located, Smith said players who were recently suspended under the current rules should have their punishments revised and revoked.
"'If we get a deal done that covers players in this league year, I don't like that we punish players under a deal active in the old league year,' Smith said. 'We don't want players to suffer because the union and the league couldn't get it done before the league year.'
"Welker's suspension, for amphetamines, falls under the league's curent policy for performance-enhancing drugs. Under the guildeines for PEDs, players are suspended for the first flagged positive test. Team officials believe under the proposed new drug policy those stimulants would be characterized under the league's rules for substance abuse.
"Under those guidelines, a player enters the treatment program with the first positive test -- a program that includes meeting with counselors -- and the player is subject to increased testing each month. It takes multiple positve tests under the substance-abuse policy before reaching the suspension phase."
Manning also told The Denver Post's Nicki Jhabvala on Sept. 10 he was pleased with the Broncos' effort in a 31-24 Week 1 win over his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, but now they have to focus on their AFC West division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, for Week 2:
"Don't let Peyton Manning fool you. He'll try it on the field, calling multipile audibles to deceive a defense. And he'll try it off, trudging off the the practice field looking bitterly unimpressed with what he just saw.
"Such was the case Wednesday after the Broncos' practice at Dove Valley. Only this time Manning couldn't keep up the act once he reflected on the team's season opener against the Colts a few days prior. Especially in regard to tight end Julius Thomas, who was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after catching three touchdowns in Sunday's win over the Colts.
"'I was really happy with the way he played and competed, and it's nice to see him get recognized. He got a parking spot out there, by the way,'Manning said jokingly while looking out into the Dove Valley parking lot. 'Player of the Week. I don't know if you noticed it out there.'
"Manning was also pleased with the play of running back Montee Ball, who rushed for 67 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown in his first start in place of the departed Knowshon Moreno.
"'I just kind of like the look in his eye the other night as the starting running back for the Broncos,' Manning said of Ball. 'I think he'll just keep getting better all season.'
"Denver returns to Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday for their Week 2 matchup against the Chiefs, a game Manning and coach John Fox have repeatedly said is the biggest test this season for the team.
"'There's no gauge until after Week 1,' Fox said. 'Whether it's how you react in coming out after halftime, whether it's just playing four quarters for the first time since a year ago -- there's many reasons why you have a gauge and have something to work off of.'
"The game will be the Broncos' first division matchup in what Manning says is the toughest in the league.
"'What happened last week, you throw it out the window,' he said. '(This Sunday) is a division game, two teams very familiar with each other, well-coached, talented football team -- it's going to be a physical football game. And that's how we have to play, because we know that's how they're going to play.'"
Manning, who threw for 269 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against Indianapolis on Sunday, will look to build on his Week 1 performance against Kansas City.
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