According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, veteran defensive end/linebacker Rob Ninkovich is facing a 4-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance.
This comes as a surprise, as Ninkovich has zero previous issues with banned substances. Ninkovich, 32, suffered torn triceps earlier in training camp and recently returned to practice earlier than anticipated after initially expected to return in about a month. Whether this is a matter of Ninkovich using a banned substance to get back on the field sooner, or simply a matter of carelessness, is not known at the time.
This bodes well for players vying for a spot on the final roster, which is to be finalized in the next couple of days. Players that could play roles similar to that of Ninkovich are defensive end Geneo Grissom, linebacker Barkevious Mingo, and edge defender Rufus Johnson. Perhaps one of these players will be vaulted from bubble status to being roster locks as a result of Ninkovich’s suspension. Given Bill Belichick’s unpredictable track record with final cuts, the roster spot could also be used to enhance depth at another position.
For further updates regarding Ninkovich’s suspension and the status of borderline players it might affect, stay tuned to the Armchair All-Americans.