FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland, coming off his best NFL season, was suspended without pay for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, the league announced Wednesday.
Copeland is allowed to practice and play in the final two preseason games. After that, he can't return to the roster until Oct. 7, the day after the Jets' Week 5 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. New York's bye falls in Week 4.
Copeland, 28, posted on Instagram that a supplement he took "was contaminated with a banned substance" that wasn't listed on the label.
View this post on Instagram
God's Plan > My Plan I've spent the better part of 28 years building and working on my legacy. This offseason, I began taking a supplement AFTER multiple verifications that it was safe for me to use. Unfortunately, this supplement was contaminated with a banned substance - NOT on its label. Regardless of the reason, League policy says I am responsible for what is in my body. I've had a roller coaster ride of a career and all of my previous test results have been negative. I trust that the ppl who know my heart understand that I would never intentionally take a banned substance. To be quite honest, Im very fond of hard work and wouldn't want success with the artificial help. Having to be away from my dream for something that was beyond my control will be tough for me however in similar fashion to how I handle other obstacles in my life I will approach this one with a "WATCH WHAT I DO WITH THIS OPPORTUNITY" mentality because my life dreams/missions still continue. Although I can NEVER make up for time loss on the field and away from my teammates who have become family, my team and I will be taking the necessary steps to rectify this situation to the fullest extent of the law. Understanding that God does not make mistakes, I will take this opportunity to thank Him for my blessings - the good, the bad and of course, the ugly. This is simply a chapter in my journey that is still being written. And as always, never let the obstacle become bigger than the OPPORTUNITY 🙏🏽
This has been a tough week for the Jets' linebacking corps, as starter Avery Williamson suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second preseason game.
Copeland, playing with his fourth team, emerged as a regular on defense last season for the Jets. He finished with a career-high five sacks. He didn't attract a lot of interest in free agency and wound up re-signing with the Jets for one year at $1.75 million, including a $250,000 signing bonus.
The new coaching staff changed his position, making him an off-ball linebacker in certain packages. His playing time has been inconsistent in the preseason, leading to speculation about his roster status.
Copeland was used in the fourth quarter last week against the Atlanta Falcons, fueling talk about him being on the bubble. But in two practices this week, he was spotted in certain first-team packages.
The Jets, perhaps anticipating the suspension, signed linebacker Stephone Anthony on Tuesday night. Anthony, a 2015 first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints, played the past two seasons under coach Adam Gase with the Miami Dolphins.
Without Copeland, the Jets' top outside linebackers are starter Jordan Jenkins, plus backups Frankie Luvu and Tarell Basham. Rookie Jachai Polite, a third-round pick from Florida, has been a nonfactor.
Copeland will join tight end Chris Herndon on the suspended list to start the season. Herndon will sit four games because of a substance-abuse violation.
Copeland gained a measure of celebrity in the offseason as a co-professor at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. He taught a course called "Life 101," which supplied students with financial information. He was featured by ESPN, The Wall Street Journal and the "Today" show, among other media outlets.