NFL

NFL suspends Canadian-born D-lineman Nathan Shepherd 6 games for PED use

New York Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd told NFL Media he took performance-enhancing drugs this off-season, leading to a six-game suspension following two separate failed drug tests.

Jets tackle 'made an unwise decision' to compensate for inability to train after surgery

Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, who was born in Ajax, Ont., has been suspended six games by the NFL for performance enhancing drug use. ( Jim Rogash/Getty Images/File)

New York Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd told NFL Media he took performance-enhancing drugs this off-season, leading to a six-game suspension following two separate failed drug tests.

The Ajax, Ont.-born lineman told Tom Pelissero in a story published Tuesday that the failed tests came on June 27 and July 25, after he took PEDs to compensate for his inability to train while recovering from sports-hernia surgery and shoulder and back injuries.

"I was so prepared to come into this off-season and have a successful off-season and train very hard," Shepherd said. "I felt that because of these limitations, I wasn't going to be able to do that.

"I made a rash decision, an unwise decision and a selfish decision to look to certain PEDs in order to help me with that recovery process so I would be ready to go."

Shepherd was a healthy scratch in Sunday's season opener, before his suspension was announced Tuesday. The NFL could have administered a 14-game suspension -- four for the first violation and 10 for the second -- but the two failed tests will instead be punished by a single six-game suspension.

"The only competitive advantage I was really looking for was being able to come to camp healthy and having an opportunity to compete," Shepherd told Pelissero. "I'm grateful to the league for showing some understanding, leniency and fairness, and I appreciate them dealing with it in a timely manner."

Shepherd, who turned 26 on Tuesday, was a third-round pick out of Fort Hays State in 2018. He played in 16 games (five starts) as a rookie, notching 15 tackles (one for loss) and five quarterback hits.

He will be eligible to return to the team for a Week 9 trip to face the Miami Dolphins.

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