RICHMOND, Va. - Shortly before the Washington Redskins took the field Friday afternoon for their second practice session of training camp, they learned starting left defensive end Jarvis Jenkins would be suspended for the first four games of the season because he had tested positive for a banned substance.
For the third time in the first 48 hours of training camp, the Redskins' defensive depth was put to the test. News of Jenkins' suspension came one day after Adam Carriker, who would have competed with Jenkins for playing time at left defensive end, underwent a third surgery on a problematic right quadriceps tendon - a procedure that will require at least a four- to five-month recovery.
Then late Thursday night the team learned second-year inside linebacker Keenan Robinson - drafted last year to eventually take over for 38-year-old London Fletcher - had torn his left pectoral muscle and will need roughly three to five months to heal following surgery.
Jenkins' absence hurts the most and is the most exasperating because it could have been avoided. Jenkins spoke to reporters after Friday's practice and said the banned substance was an ingredient in a pre-workout and recovery supplement. The substance is often taken by women with breast cancer but also is used as a masking agent for steroids, he said.
Jenkins, who is entering his third season as a pro, said he got the supplement from GNC but acknowledged it didn't bear the label that players are told to look for.
"It was an honest mistake, but the NFL has rules," Jenkins said.
Said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan: Jenkins said he learned of the positive drug test in March and appealed the ruling. He learned Friday he had lost his appeal. This is the eighth drug-related suspension the Redskins have had in the past three years.
"Any time a person has a suspension, it's always a tough blow to your football team."
Now the Redskins must come up with contingency plans to compensate for the loss of a starter and two backups.
who would have been used in their defensive end and linebacker rotations as well as on special teams.