NAPA -- Andre Holmes tested positive for amphetamines in April. On Saturday, the Raiders wide receiver was suspended four regular-season games without pay for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
In a statement, Holmes said he didn’t know how the substance got into his system and was therefore surprised to hear he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
The Raiders weren’t surprised by Saturday’s suspension.
“We were aware that it was a possibility,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “At the end of the day, it’s a league matter, not a suspension handed down by the team. We’ll just leave it at that.”
Despite the stigma of performance-enhancing drugs, the suspension was not a major topic following Saturday’s open practice. That was the case because Holmes was a fringe player facing an uphill battle just to make the 53-man roster.
Holmes can practice with the team during training camp and play in the preseason, but will become ineligible when the regular-season starts. He won’t be eligible again until Sept. 30, following the Raiders game versus Washington the day before.
Regarding Holmes, the Raiders have options. They can keep him on the roster should Holmes make himself worthy this preseason. Or, in a more likely scenario, the Raiders could cut a player currently ranked down on the depth chart.
The second-year pro was claimed off of waivers from Dallas on May 13. Holmes has two receptions in seven games over the last two seasons.
Holmes expressed regret and surprise at the NFL’s action, and for testing positive in the first place.
Here is Holmes’ statement, in its entirety:
"When I received a letter from the NFL stating that I tested positive for amphetamine, which is banned under the NFL performance enhancing substances policy during an off-season test in April, I was very surprised as I know that I did not take any banned substances. I know that I had been quite ill when I was tested in early April, as I reported to the sample collector at the time my sample was given, so I thought one of the medications I was taking was responsible.
"However, to this day, even after further testing, I do not know how the substance got into my system. The drug policy rules are very strict with a zero tolerance, so after consulting with the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) and reviewing the medical documentation, I will not appeal the discipline. During training camp and preseason I will work extremely hard, and I will continue to work intensely so that I'm ready to contribute the minute I am back. I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches and Raiders fans for this situation."