The New Orleans Saints will be without one of their key defensive players to start the 2021 NFL season. Starting defensive tackle David Onyemata released a statement via his Instagram account today explaining that he's facing a suspension from the league.
"I was informed by the NFLPA yesterday that I have tested positive for a banned substance resulting in a suspension for part of the 2021 NFL season. While I was certainly surprised and disappointed with this news, I am responsible for what I put in my body. As I have never knowingly taken anything that could cause a positive test, we are currently in the process of testing the supplements I was taking at the time of the test. Regardless, I am committed to being more aware of any medication and dietary supplements that may contain substances banned by the NFL."
The NFL is yet to announce the length of the Saints player's suspension, but it looks likely that Onyemata will miss the first few games of the season.
A crucial cog in the Saints defense
The six-foot-four, 300-pound DT is one of the Saints' best defenders. Onyemata has started 30 games over the past two seasons and has registered 16 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and 167 tackles in his time in the Big Easy.
If Onyemata does miss the start of the season, he will leave a big gap in the middle of the New Orleans defense. Backup DTs Ryan Glasgow and Malcolm Roach are expected to fill the void.
David Onyemata has been suspended by the NFL before
It's not the first time that the 28-year-old defender has been banned by the NFL. He was suspended for the first game of the 2019 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
David Onyemata was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft as the 120th overall pick. He signed a new three-year, $26 million contract with the New Orleans Saints, including a $10 million signing bonus and $18 million guaranteed in March 2020.