Patriots Running Back Bolden Suspended Four Games
The NFL suspended the rookie from Ole Miss for four games without pay for violating the league’s substance policy with the use of an illegal performance-enhancing drug, according to the league. They declined to indicate what drug it was.
The hit leaves New England with just three running backs on the active roster. Bolden joins the newest Patriot, Aqib Talib, on the suspension list. Talib was acquired by the Patriots from Tampa last week and has one game remaining on a four-game suspension of his own.
Initial reports indicated that the drug may have been pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant commonly found in popular cold medications like Sudafed & Dimetapp, but the league declined to comment further than the announcement of the suspension.
Bolden burst on to the scene in the team’s Week 4 win against the Bills in which he exploded for 137 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, but has not played since leaving New England’s Week 6 game in Seattle with that injured knee.
He will be eligible to return to practice following the team’s Week 13 game against the Dolphins and can return to game action the following week against the AFC South leading Texans. He will miss games against the Bills (Sunday), Colts, Jets and Dolphins.
In six games this year, Bolden has run the ball well. He has carried 43 times for a total of 231 yards – most of which came in his breakout game against Buffalo – and two touchdowns.
The undrafted running back will forfeit $97,500 of his rookie salary, according to boston.com.
New England should be fine without their rookie in the backfield, however, as they will continue to ride second-year man, Stevan Ridley and mix in Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen against the terrible rush defense in Buffalo, which ranks 31st in the league through nine weeks of play, giving up an average of 169.5 rushing yards per game. Should they need him, they can always sign James Develin off the practice squad to fill the void.
The Patriots host the Bills (3-5) tomorrow at 1:00 in their first game since their demolishing of the Rams in London two weeks ago.
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