The chances for DeMarcus Love to make the Vikings’ 53-man roster may have gone out the window Thursday when the NFL hit the third-year offensive tackle with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing substance policy.
Love, a sixth-round pick out of Arkansas in 2011, has yet to play in an NFL game. He was inactive for all 16 Vikings contests as a rookie and missed last season after tearing a pectoral muscle during training camp. Love’s latest setback, however, is undoubtedly the worst.
“I’m really hurt about it,” he said after Thursday’s practice.
Love said the positive PED result surfaced in April from a test he took in February or March. He quickly appealed but was denied, resulting in Thursday's announcement of his punishment.
The offensive tackle wouldn’t reveal the banned substance he tested positive for but said it was in a supplement he was taking.
“I was shocked, man,” Love said. “I’ve never cheated and never will. Not intentionally. Unfortunate it’s something I can’t change. It happened. It didn’t work out in my favor and so I’ve got to face the consequences.”
Love will be allowed to continue practicing with the team throughout training camp and is cleared to play in preseason games. But in the outside chance he makes the roster, he would be suspended through the Vikings’ Week 4 game in London. That, head coach Leslie Frazier said, would obviously be a setback in Love’s growth.
“He won’t be on the field with us, won’t be able to practice with us, won’t be able to play with us,” Frazier said. “So that can’t help your development if you’re not on the field. But while he’s here, we’re going to work as hard as we can to help him come along."
The “while he’s here” part of Love’s future may very well be short-term. The Vikings must make roster cuts from 90 players to 75 on Aug. 27, then will trim down to their 53-man roster on the final day of the month.
Frazier was forward with his disappointment in Love.
Added Love: “One thing about it is it’s bad for me. But it also gives other guys a heads up so they know that you really have to watch what you put in your body. Because whatever it is, they’ll find it. And you’ll eventually have to pay for it.”