The Buffalo Bills learned on Friday that they'll be without their most athletic tight end for the first four games of the regular season. The National Football League released a statement Friday morning that informed the club of the suspension, which read as follows.
Shawn Nelson of the Buffalo Bills has been suspended without pay for the team's first four games of the 2010 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
Nelson's suspension begins on Saturday, Sept. 4. He will be eligible to return to the Bills' active roster on Monday, October 4 following the team's Oct. 3 game against the New York Jets. Nelson is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
The second-year tight end was hoping to be a big part of Buffalo's passing attack this season as he showed promising flashes in 2009 as a rookie. Those plans are obviously on hold with respect to the first month of the regular season.
Nelson has had trouble with consistency in his game in the spring, which was complicated by some personal family issues in his native Louisiana, which kept him from participating fully in the voluntary workouts.
The tight end has found it difficult to shine in training camp, as he has been outperformed by Jonathan Stupar and veteran free agent signee Michael Matthews.
With Nelson now not eligible for the first four games and Derek Schouman suffering a knee injury in Thursday night's preseason game, it bears watching as to whether the Bills choose to add to the position.