NFL reinstates Fred Davis after long suspension

Former Redskins tight end Fred Davis has been reinstated by the NFL following a lengthy suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrea Hangst

Pro Football Talk reported on Thursday that free agent tight end Fred Davis has been reinstated by the NFL. Davis had been suspended indefinitely by the league for repeated violations of the substance abuse policy in February of last year. He had last played for Washington in 2013.

Davis played for six years with Washington, totaling 162 receptions for 2,043 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2013, his last season in the league, he caught just seven passes for 70 yards and one score, with the team turning to Jordan Reed as their primary receiving tight end. He was only active in 10 games that season with three starts.

Though Davis presents a risk of further suspension to any interested team, he could find a few suitors. He’s only 29 years old and has a history of being productive on the field, and receiving tight ends, especially those with NFL experience, are hard to find at this point in the offseason. Still, Davis’ multiple suspensions and his 2012 Achilles tear are marks against him. He may have to wait until training camps commence this summer in order to find a new team to call home.

In a statement Davis released upon his suspension last year, he claimed that he had taken a supplement that contained a substance banned by the NFL in accordance with their performance-enhancing drugs policy, claiming “For over two years, I’ve worked very hard to eliminate marijuana from my life, and I have not had a positive test for it since 2011.”

However, the NFL contended that Davis’ suspension stemmed from a substance-abuse policy violation, and not as a result of Davis ingesting a banned substance. Though, as the Washington Post‘s Mark Maske notes, “People familiar with the sport’s drug-testing programs said it is possible for a supplement to contain a substance banned under either of the NFL’s testing programs.”

No matter what got Davis suspended for so long, he’s now been reinstated, allowing him to meet with teams and eventually sign. Whether he does depends on teams being convinced he is no longer a risk and that he is indeed in physical shape to resume his playing career.


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