Spencer Nealy

Welker, Scandrick, Others To Be Reinstated

Broncos wideout Wes Welker and Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick are among the players who will be reinstated when the term sheet for the league’s new drug policy is agreed upon, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Facebook link). Welker and Scandrick are two of the estimated 20 players whose suspensions will be affected by the new policy once it’s approved by the NFL, which is expected to happen within the next 24 hours.

Besides Welker and Scandrick, Rams receiver Stedman Bailey, Giants offensive lineman Eric Herman, and former Vikings defensive end Spencer Nealy will also have the remaining games on their suspensions wiped out and will be reinstated immediately, according to the ESPN duo. Additionally, Browns wideout Josh Gordon and ex-Colts receiver LaVon Brazill will have their year-long bans reduced to 10 games.

That handful of players named by Schefter and Mortensen is far from the complete list of players who will be affected by the NFL’s new drug policy, but we may not get that full list of names until the agreement becomes official. In any case, it seems plenty of players who had originally been suspended through Week 3 will get the opportunity to return to their teams’ respective practices this week, and many of them could be active this coming Sunday.

Minor Moves: Packers, Jaguars, Chargers

It’s been a busy Wednesday in the NFL, with a handful of veteran signings (including Jason Babin), a confirmed suspension and a retirement. Let’s take a look at some of the more under-the-radar moves from this afternoon…

  • The Packers have signed linebacker Korey Jones, the player’s agent told Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). The former Wyoming player spent 2013 with the BC Lions of the CFL after a brief stint with the Cardinals.
  • The Jaguars have announced the signing of rookie defensive back Deion Belue. The team subsequently waived rookie running back Beau Blankenship. Belue, a former standout for Alabama, has already spent time on the Dolphins and Steelers rosters. Blankenship had a 15-touchdown season for Ohio University in 2012 and was signed by the Jaguars in May.
  • The Cardinals announced that they have cut rookie wide receiver Kelsey Pope. The former Samford Bulldog broke multiple Southern Conference receiving records during his collegiate career.
  • The Chargers have waived (failed physical) former second-round pick Jonas Mouton, the team announced. The linebacker made three appearances in three seasons with the team.
  • The Vikings have waived defensive end Spencer Nealy and signed tight end Michael Higgins, the team announced on Twitter. Nealy, a former undrafted rookie, is suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season. Higgins previously spent time with the Saints.
  • The Patriots have released wide receiver Tyler McDonald and re-signed wideout Greg Orton, reports the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe (via Twitter). McDonald, a former Maine Black Bear, was signed by New England less than a week ago. Orton spent last season on the Patriots practice squad.

Vikings’ Spencer Nealy Suspended Four Games

Vikings’ defensive end Spencer Nealy has been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter).

Nealy, a defensive end out of Texas A&M, spent last season on the Vikings’ practice squad after going undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. He had a chance to improve his standing and possibly make the 53-man roster in 2014. Two things in his favor this season were the departure of stalwart defensive end Jared Allen and new head coach Mike Zimmer’s tendency of using a rotation on the defensive line that promotes more snaps for backups.

Dolphins’ second-year defensive end Dion Jordan and Chiefs offensive lineman Rokevious Watkins have already received similar suspensions, and LaVon Brazill was cut by the Colts shortly after his year-long suspension was announced.

Nealy will only miss four games, much less than that of Brazill, so just because Brazill was released does not ensure that Nealy will also be cast out from his franchise. However, his pedigree is not close to that of Jordan or even on the level of Watkins. He is much less valuable as an asset going forward, and the team may be unwilling to grant him a second chance.

Nealy released a statement in which he apologized. “I accept full responsibility,” said Nealy, reports Pelissero (via Twitter).