MANKATO, Minn. — Citing a supplement that contained a banned substance, Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle DeMarcus Love acknowledged his suspension for four games for violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Love, 25, is suspended for the first four games of the season and will be eligible to return following Minnesota’s Sept. 29 game in London against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s eligible to participate in preseason games and practices and was on the field for the Vikings’ afternoon padded practice at training camp on Thursday.
Love said he tested positive for a banned substance in February or March and appealed the suspension in April. The appeal was denied and Love said Thursday he didn’t know what substance triggered the positive test.
“I don’t know exactly where it came from,” Love said after Minnesota’s practice Thursday. “It was in a supplement I took, just couldn’t target exactly what it was. Unfortunately it was in something obviously that I took. I’m really hurt about it…Just waiting for everything to be behind me and move forward.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said: “It was disappointing. Got the news, we sat down and talked about it and I let him know my displeasure and our entire organization’s concern for him. Hopefully he’ll learn something from this and grow from it. Hopefully that will be the case.”
Love, a sixth-round draft choice by Minnesota in 2011, missed all of last season after having surgery for a torn pectoral muscle. He has yet to play in a regular-season game after being on the active roster in his rookie season but was a weekly inactive.
It’s another blow for a player who hasn’t been able to get his career on track and entered training camp in competition for a roster spot. Love has practiced as the third-team left tackle during the first week of training camp. His chances of making the final roster were in doubt even before Thursday’s announcement.
“Leading up through training camp he’ll continue to work as hard as he can to improve and develop as a player,” Frazier said. “What it does once the season starts, who knows? It has to be a setback. He won’t be on the field with us. He won’t be able to practice with us, won’t be able to play with us. So that can’t help your development if you’re not on the field.”
“I know it doesn’t help my situation at all,” Love added.
Frazier spoke about the measures in place and the league’s effort to educate players. Love said he was “shocked” at the positive test.
“It’s like I’ve never cheated and never will, not intentionally,” Love said. “Unfortunately, it’s something I can’t change. It happened. It didn’t work out in my favor, so I’ve got to suffer the consequences.”
Love said his situation can be a lesson to the other players on the team.
“It also gives other guys heads-up so they know that you really got to watch what you put in your body,” Love said. “Because whatever it is, they’ll find it and you’ll eventually have to pay for it. I feel like a lot of guys on the team can learn from my mistake.”