By Rich Kurtzman
This is a busy week in the NFL. Not only is it Week 2 of competition, but there’s also a ton a news going around.
The biggest, league-wide news is about Ray Rice and the domestic abuse case with his wife, which has stolen headlines. When new video evidence of Rice beating his wife came public on Monday, first the Baltimore Ravens terminated his contract and then NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely. It’s unknown whether Rice will ever play again in the NFL and the situation’s handling has been less than ideal by the league.
When it comes to the two AFC West rivals, who will go toe-to-toe this week, there’s been much news as well.
For the Kansas City Chiefs, Week 1 wasn’t too pleasant. They missed the suspended Dwayne Bowe on offense, where quarterback Alex Smith struggled in throwing three interceptions. On defense, the Chiefs lost two starters – Mike DeVito and Derrick Johnson – each to Achilles injuries. While Johnson’s presence and play will be difficult to substitute, Kansas City has found a fill-in for DeVito in former Broncos lineman Kevin Vickerson.
Vickerson was one of Denver’s final cuts and one of the biggest surprises as well. The eight-year veteran racked up 106 tackles and five sacks with the Broncos from 2010-2013, but the improvement of 2013 draft pick Sylvester Williams as well as the much younger Marvin Austin made Vickerson expendable.
He’ll be able to possibly get his revenge on the Broncos this week, as Vickerson will likely start when the two teams meet at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium at 2:25 p.m. MT.
And, surprisingly, Denver is waiting to see if Wes Welker might be able to suit up. That’s right, despite being suspended exactly one week ago, the NFL’s substance abuse policy is in the process of changing and the NFL and NFLPA voted Tuesday on multiple things, including whether or not they’ll test for human growth hormone (HGH).
In exchange for testing for HGH – which has been a major stopping point for the NFLPA in the past – the NFL is willing to raise the levels for a positive marijuana test as well as change the use of amphetamines or stimulants from performance-enhancement drugs to the substance-abuse policy.
What that would mean for Welker is this: Because he was reportedly busted for taking Adderall, a stimulant, he’s been suspended for four games. But under the substance-abuse policy, first time offenders aren’t automatically suspended, they’re put into the program and have to go more rigorous testing.
Welker could possibly then go from suspended to not suspended and be able to play against the Chiefs this week.
Stay tuned for that ruling, as it will effect the entire NFL, not just Welker.
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.