By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
4:27 PM EDT, August 2, 2013
Ravens reserve cornerback Asa Jackson has been suspended without pay for eight games for his second violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Jackson served a four-game suspension as a rookie last year. Both suspensions stem from unauthorized usage of Adderall, according to sources. The medication heightens concentration and is commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“I was diagnosed with a condition that can be treated with a medication allowed under the NFL/NFLPA policy after a player obtains a therapeutic use exemption,” Jackson said in a statement. “I now have the required approval, but the positive test occurred before it was approved. The policy is very strict, so I have chosen to be immediately accountable.
“I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches, and Ravens fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and preseason, training hard during the discipline period and contributing to the team immediately upon my return.”
This suspension will be expensive for Jackson, as he'll forfeit eight game checks from his $480,000 base salary, a loss in pay of $225,882. Jackson is paid $28,235 per week during the regular season.
Hours after issuing the statement, Jackson wrote on his Twitter account that he's prescribed medicine for his attention-deficit disorder and that a team doctor “quit and never turned in my paperwork. Although I am responsible for what is in my body, this is just a bad situation that wasn't really my fault. But I do take responsibility for it, and will face the consequences.”
Under the collective bargaining agreement, players are responsible for whatever substances they put into their bodies. In order to use Adderall, a player must have documentation of a medical condition from an NFL-approved doctor and receive permission to use the medication. Otherwise, they're in violation of the performance-enhancing drug policy.
“Reaction to that is you got to follow the rules,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “You don't follow the rules, you get suspended. That's a fair rule. There's really no place for that. He's getting what he deserves.”
Jackson will be eligible to return to the active roster on Nov. 4, the day after the team’s eighth game against the Cleveland Browns.
Jackson is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games, and he can be replaced on the active roster once the suspension begins. The fifth-round draft pick out of Cal Poly appeared in three games last season, making one tackle.
“As far as what it does to our corner depth, it's one less corner that we have,” Harbaugh said. “We will be missing Asa for the first eight weeks. Whether he'll be back after that, time will tell. It doesn't count against your 53-man roster. It just means he's out of the picture.
“What he needs to do is have a great camp and make us want him back after eight weeks, and try to be in position to help us during the second half of the season. That will be a big challenge for him. We've talked about it quite a bit, and he's up for that challenge.”