INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will be without one of their best players for the next month and a half.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Colts announced Grover Stewart had been suspended, without pay, by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Stewart released the following statement on his Instagram:
“I want to apologize to the National Football League, the Colts organization, my teammates, our fans and my family. I was surprised and disappointed to learn I had violated the policy. I respect the integrity of the game and would never purposefully put myself or the team in this kind of situation. I am responsible for what I put in my body, and I should have taken the proper stages to educate myself. I will learn from this moving forward and I will take the appropriate measure to ensure this never happens again.”
Per the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, a 6-game suspension comes from a first offense involving an “anabolic agent.”
The loss of Stewart is immense.
He’s the central figure in the Colts’ run defense being a stout unit for the past handful of seasons. Stewart has been much more than just a space eater, offering some rare playmaking and top motor with his 318-pound body.
Depth in replacing a guy like Stewart is not an easy answer, with the nose tackle position needing different responsibilities than the likes of DeForest Buckner and other ‘lighter’ defensive tackles on the roster.
Losing Stewart certainly impacts a consistent strength for the team—the run defense—and it could limit a guy like Buckner moving forward.
The opponent debate over who to double team between Stewart and Buckner now becomes an obvious one. Not only do you lose a great player in Stewart with this news, but the attention on Buckner could quiet down his effectiveness, too.
Stewart, 29, is in a contract year.
His durability has been one of the more remarkable features of his NFL career. He’s missed 2 games in his entire career and none in the last 5 seasons.
Here are the 6 games Stewart will miss: Browns, Saints, at Panthers, Patriots (in Germany), Bucs, at Titans.
In being suspended without pay, Stewart will forfeit around $3 million of his salary, which hovers around $9 million for this season.
He can return for the final 5 games of the season: at Bengals, Steelers, at Falcons, Raiders, Texans.
Stewart must stay away from the team facility and team activities for the first half of his suspension.
The Colts did work some defensive tackles out earlier this week but had yet to add one to the 53-man roster. They filled Stewart’s roster spot by adding wide receiver Juwann Winfree.
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