St. Louis Rams RB Trey Watts Suspended for Violating NFL Substance Abuse Policy


The St. Louis Rams announced on Friday afternoon that running back Trey Watts has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The 24-year-old Watts made the Rams’ roster last fall as an undrafted rookie and played in 14 games, mostly seeing action on special teams but collecting seven carries for 30 yards and three receptions for 18 yards.

Watts, who seemed to have the edge for the Rams’ fourth running back job, will now likely face an uphill battle to make the roster. The Rams still have former second-rounder Isaiah Pead on the roster, and they seem to desperately want to get some type of value out of him. In addition, undrafted rookie Malcolm Brown was considered a draftable prospect after rushing for 2,678 yards over four seasons at Texas, and he’ll definitely be a candidate to seize the job that was held by Watts in 2014. Considering that the Rams have used wide receiver Tavon Austin at running back before and already have Todd Gurley, Tre Mason, and Benny Cunningham on the roster, they could certainly also elect to go with just three true running backs and utilize special teams ace Chase Reynolds as the emergency extra back.

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These days, getting suspended under the substance abuse policy is about as boneheaded of a move as a player on the roster bubble like Watts can possibly make. The marijuana threshold was reduced last year to make it easier for players to have the drug in their system without testing positive, and a player can test positive for marijuana three times before ever being suspended. In addition, amphetamines such as MDMA (also known as Molly) are handled with the same type of procedure, with players being allowed to test positive three times before a suspension occurs.

You’d think that a player like Watts stuck fighting for a fourth-string running back job and special teams role would get his act together after the first positive test. Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have handled these types of incidents with marginal players in the past rather harshly. Backup defensive tackle Kellen Heard was immediately released following a Saturday night violation of team rules, while starting wide receiver Chris Givens and Janoris Jenkins, who committed the same offense, were suspended. Offensive guard Rokevious Watkins was released on the first day of training camp in 2013 after showing up overweight for the second straight year. Considering these prior cases, it wouldn’t be surprised to see Watts released right away.

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