According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, New York Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd is reportedly facing a six-game suspension for two violations of the league's PED policy while rehabbing from offseason injuries.
Shepherd, 25, was the Jets' third-round pick a season ago. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle appeared in all 16 games last season (5 starts), amassing 15 tackles. He was inactive for Sunday's season opener.
Shepherd failed the two tests on June 27 and July 25 while recovering from a shoulder injury that could potentially require surgery in addition to a groin injury that slowed down his offseason training. During the rehab process for his shoulder, an MRI revealed that Shepherd's groin needed surgery for a sports hernia. After the surgery, Shepherd dealt with a herniated L4-L5 disc in his back.
With all of the mounting ailments, Shepherd told Pelissero he felt pressured to fast track the recovery process.
"All that was going on, I was coming off of a subpar season and a new coaching staff, new playbook, new everything," Shepherd said. "In my mindset, I didn't feel very confident with how everything had gone thus far. In my mind, I was so prepared to come into this offseason and have a successful offseason and train very hard. 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 is apologetic to the Jets organization and fans and intends to use this as a learning experience, which is critical because if he fails one more test he'll be suspended for a minimum of two years.
"I'm still trying to get my feet under me, literally," Shepherd said. "Most definitely, I want to be able to provide for my daughter and my family and myself, for sure. I don't use that as a crutch, though, or an excuse, because I'm definitely not the only person in the NFL with kids.
"I feel like I used eight of my nine lives. I kind of have to treat it like I have a peanut allergy -- if I get one more, it's going to be over for me. That's just my reality and I accept that."