For the second time in three months, Nick Boyle is facing a lengthy regular-season suspension after the NFL again found the Ravens' young tight end in violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Boyle, a fifth-round pick last year who showed some promise as a blocking tight end in his rookie season, will be banned without pay for the first 10 games of the 2016 regular season. He’s allowed to participate in all preseason games and practices before moving to the reserve/suspended list once the regular season begins in September.
The league doesn’t announce what substance caused the suspension. Boyle wasn’t available for comment and his agent, Jared Fox, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The suspension, though, certainly casts Boyle’s future with the team in doubt. The Ravens have long said that they’d have little tolerance for repeat mistakes, and now Boyle won’t be available to play until mid-to-late November.
A third suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances would also result in at least a two-season suspension, subject to any appeal.
After he was suspended for the final four games of the 2015 season, Boyle apologized on Twitter and vowed to move on.
“I am truly sorry for the disappointment I have caused by a poor choice I made,” he wrote. “I am ready to move forward and I appreciate all the support.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who had praised the tight end’s progress throughout the season, said the then-rookie made a “dumb” decision.
“It wasn’t like steroids or anything like that,” Harbaugh said. “It’s pretty common. It’s what you read about all the time with guys. I don’t think he realized that it was something he shouldn’t be doing. Or if he did, he didn’t think it through. I’ve talked to him, and he was telling me how stupid it was, and I agreed. It was pretty dumb.”
Former Ravens Asa Jackson and Haloti Ngata have served suspensions in the past for Adderall, a medication that treats attention-deficit disorder. Jackson was suspended twice for violations, both of them, he said, resulting from Adderall use.
Boyle, who played his college ball at Delaware, had 18 catches for 153 yards in 11 games during his rookie season, while serving primarily as the team’s No. 3 tight end behind Crockett Gillmore and fellow rookie Maxx Williams.
A physical blocker who showed better-than-expected hands during his rookie season, Boyle (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) was expected to continue in that blocking role behind Gillmore and Williams. Even with his extended absence and the likelihood that Dennis Pitta’s career may be over because of his twice fractured and dislocated hip, the Ravens still probably have enough depth at tight end, where they won’t have to use an early-to-mid-round draft pick on the position, or address it in free agency.
They signed tight end Harold Spears to a reserve/future deal last month and they are expected to bring back exclusive rights free agent Konrad Reuland, who played four games in 2015, starting one.