We heard several days ago that Bills offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson was facing another suspension, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports today that Henderson is looking at a 10-game ban for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Henderson is appealing the ruling, and the appeal will be resolved sometime this week. If he is unsuccessful, he has not ruled out litigation to get back on the field.
Henderson’s battles with Crohn’s disease represent something of a microcosm of the league-wide dilemma concerning medical marijuana use. The 24-year-old Miami product uses marijuana to deal with the pain resulting from the illness and two intestinal surgeries, and one of Rapoport’s sources has said that Henderson “needs cannabis. You can’t take pain killers with the way his intestines are.”
Henderson already served a four-game suspension at the start of this season for a similar violation. Although his marijuana use dates back to his collegiate days, he insists he now utilizes marijuana only to treat his disease. But until the NFL softens its stance on marijuana, it appears as if Henderson will be stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Henderson has played in only one game this year after starting in all 26 appearances during his first two seasons, including 16 as a rookie. Thanks in part to his health issues, Henderson lost the Bills’ No. 1 right tackle job to Jordan Mills. However, his upside remains considerable, and as Rapoport writes, Henderson was a topic of trade discussions right before this year’s deadline. Teams like as the Vikings and Seahawks needed tackles, and Henderson was the top starter-quality player available at his position. Opposing clubs, though, were unable to meet the Bills’ asking price, and Buffalo opted to hold onto its embattled swing tackle.
Henderson remains under club control for the 2017 season, the last year of his rookie contract. He will count just over $700K against the cap, so there is a good chance Buffalo will keep him around even if the suspension stands.
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