Big names among 29 suspended players: Welker, Mathis, Gordon, Aldon Smith

  • Article by: BARRY WILNER , Associated Press
  • Updated: September 3, 2014 - 3:10 PM

NEW YORK — Wes Welker. Robert Mathis. Aldon Smith. Josh Gordon.

A solid quartet to put on any NFL field. Except that they are among 29 players suspended by the league heading into the 2014 season.

Among those big names, Cleveland's Gordon got the longest ban, sidelined for the entire season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. His absence might be the most damaging, too, and not only for its length. A Pro Bowl wide receiver, Gordon was the only established target on the Browns, who figured to be an also-ran even with him in the lineup.

That Gordon's case lingered for weeks while appeals were heard, and was not decided until just before the season, didn't help the Browns, either.

"How it played out was not ideal circumstances for us, obviously, but that's behind us," coach Mike Pettine said. "You can't worry about guys you don't have. ... I've said this all along, you don't replace a Josh Gordon, a top-five NFL receiver, with just one player."

Welker's four-game suspension, announced Tuesday, shouldn't hurt the Broncos nearly so much considering the other receiving talent on hand. And having Peyton Manning throwing to them.

More harmful: Matt Prater's four-gamer, which takes away a significant weapon. Prater made 25 of 26 field goals in 2013, including a record 64-yarder. Denver is going with a rookie, Brandon McManus.

Prater has been in the NFL's drug program, which includes alcohol, since a DUI arrest in 2011. He said he realized one more strike meant he'd face sitting out an entire season when he decided to have some beers "right after the season."

"Why did I risk it?" Prater said. "I made a mistake. I don't have an excuse for it. I screwed up and now I'm paying the price for it."

For Indianapolis and San Francisco, the loss of key defenders could have a huge impact.

Mathis, gone for four games, led the league with 19 1-2 sacks in a career year. The Colts will face high-powered Denver and Philadelphia in the first two weeks without their best player on that side of the ball.

"We've got a soldier down," Colts DE Cory Redding said of Mathis. "We're going to wait for him to come back, but until then, we're going to hold down the fort."

Smith's absence means San Francisco is without two playmakers at linebacker, because All-Pro NaVorro Bowman is recovering from a gruesome knee injury sustained in the NFC title game loss to Seattle. Smith is gone for nine games for violating the drug and personal conduct policies, which means both he and Bowman might not be in the lineup before mid-November.

Plus, defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested last week on a domestic abuse charge, something NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will clamp down on. Goodell announced stiffer penalties for such incidents last week, with six games for a first offense.

"Some people have a magic number of if you have one, if you have two, if you have eight, if you have seven, I've always believed one is too many," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. "We're continuing to work to try to figure out what we can do better. Better as an organization, better as individuals, whether you're a player, whether you're a coach, whether you're in the administrative side."

Ravens standout Ray Rice is suspended for two games for a domestic abuse issue, a penalty that Goodell later referenced as not being strong enough. Baltimore opens with defending AFC North champion Cincinnati, and Rice's backup, Bernard Pierce, was hobbled in the preseason.

Two players are suspended indefinitely: Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon and Redskins safety Tanard Jackson. Neither's loss should be too significant.

One other player gone for the season, Arizona linebacker Daryl Washington, is a significant one for the Cardinals, who previously lost Karlos Dansby in free agency. They also had top defensive lineman Darnell Dockett tear up his right knee and is done for 2014.

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Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson 5
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Doolittle 1
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 5 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 2
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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