A statement released by Mark Ingram‘s agents suggests that he will claim his suspension for violating the league’s PED policy stemmed from a legitimate medication — and also will claim that the test showing he took the medication was invalid.
The second part of the defense, that Ingram “has vigorously challenged the test results,” would seem contradictory with the first defense. If Ingram is going to claim he was using the banned substance for a therapeutic reason, then there would be no need to challenge the test results because he would readily admit that the substance was in his body. If Ingram is claiming that the test was invalid and he didn’t use the substance, then what difference does it make if he could have used it with a proper use exemption?
The arbitrator who denied Ingram’s appeal is expected to produce a full written ruling within a week. Unless there’s more to Ingram’s case than his agents’ statement suggests, it’s hard to see what grounds he would have to fight the suspension. Ingram was the leading rusher for the Saints last season but is reportedly unhappy with his contract and not planning to participate in voluntary offseason work.
“I think you’re gonna see less offensive linemen on this unit,” Saints coach Sean Payton, a member of the Competition Committee, explained during a visit to PFT Live. “I think you’re gonna see a more athletic player on this unit. I think you’re gonna have less space in the collisions, which the goal was at the beginning.”
The changes in the positioning (and possibly the composition) on the kickoff also could lead to various other unforeseen, by maybe not unwelcome, consequences.
“I’m not so sure that you’re not gonna see a handful of unique returns now when you have eight [blockers] inside that initial 15-yard zone,” Payton said. “I think there’s space and I also think there’s also opportunities that present themselves for the kicking team. Whether it’s not an onside [kick] but you know placing the ball in certain areas of the field maybe with the idea of trying to recover it.”