Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata was recently cited for possession of marijuana, per Nick Underhill and Ramon Antonio Vargas of The New Orleans Advocate. Jefferson Parish (La.) prosecutors are unsure if they will formally charge Onyemata.
New Orleans selected Onyemata, a native of Nigeria, in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, and he has steadily improved his game during his first three seasons in the league. He played in almost 60% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2018 and compiled a career high 4.5 sacks to go along with 35 total tackles. He has appeared in all of the Saints’ regular season and playoff contests since he became a pro.
His early career is especially impressive considering he did not start playing football until 2011, when he arrived at the University of Manitoba. He said he picked up the game just to have something to do between classes, and now he is a regular on one of the league’s better clubs. The Saints were intrigued enough by his potential that they traded up in the 2016 draft to acquire him, and they have thus far gotten a solid return on their investment
Onyemata is entering the final year of his rookie contract, so this citation comes at something of an inopportune time. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office began investigating a package that was seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection personnel in Buffalo, New York, on January 28, and it obtained a search warrant for Onyemata’s apartment the following day. Deputies ultimately seized three ounces of marijuana, cannabis oil, marijuana edibles, and hemp powder.
Even if Onyemata escapes legal repercussions, he could still face disciplinary action from the league. With Sheldon Rankins working his way back from an Achilles injury suffered during the playoffs, and with Tyeler Davison a free agent, New Orleans could be a little thin along the defensive line to start the 2019 campaign.
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