The Rex Ryan era in New York has not even begun and he already has to deal with a little controversy. Calvin Pace, one of his starting linebackers, has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season for using a banned substance, which has yet to be identified.
“Calvin Pace of the New York Jets has been suspended without pay for the team’s first four regular-season games of 2009 for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances,” said an NFL spokesperson. “Pace’s suspension begins on Saturday, September 5. He is eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Monday, October 5 following the team’s October 4 game against the New Orleans Saints. Pace is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.”
Pace, who joined the Jets last year after signing as a free agent from Arizona, said in a statement, “This is a situation that resulted from an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained a substance that I did not know violated the League’s policy. I am responsible for what I put into my body and I should have paid closer attention to the League’s guidelines. I regret that this has happened and apologize to my teammates, the entire Jets organization as well as the fans. Hopefully, this does not distract from our ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl.”
The Jets stated that they respected the league’s decision and look forward to Pace’s return once the suspension is served.
This may open the door for Vernon Gholston to get some quality playing time. After being selected sixth overall in the 2008 NFL Draft, he was a complete bust and fell into former head coach Eric Mangini’s doghouse. The second-year outside rushing linebacker, who already was getting a fresh start with Ryan, may benefit the most out of this.