Mark Ingram suspended: Saints leading rusher out first four games of 2018 season

It looks like the New Orleans Saints are going to have to start their 2018 season without their leading rusher from 2017 on the field. 

According to the New Orleans Advocate, Mark Ingram has been suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season after violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs. The suspension means that Ingram won't be on the field for the Saints' home games against Tampa Bay (Week 1) and Cleveland (Week 2), or road games against Atlanta (Week 3) and the New York Giants (Week 4). The suspension means that Ingram's first game in 2018 won't come until October, when the Saints host the Redskins for a "Monday Night Football" showdown. 

The suspension comes just four months after Ingram completed the most successful year of his career. During the 2017 season, Ingram totaled 1,124 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for the Saints, which were both career highs. The running back also caught a career high 58 passes for 416 yards. 

It was a huge year for the 28-year-old running back, who seems to be getting better with age. After being selected by the Saints with the 28th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Ingram didn't do much during his first three years with the team, averaging just 487.3 yards per season. However, over the past four years (2014-17), Ingram has more than doubled his rushing production by averaging exactly 975 yards per season. 

The good news for the Saints is that if there's one team in the NFL that can afford to lose their leading rusher for four games, it might be New Orleans. With Ingram out for four weeks, that means that brunt of the rushing load will likely fall on Alvin Kamara, who was named the NFL's 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year last season. The Saints also have Trey Edmunds, Jonathan Williams and Daniel Lasco in the backfield to go along with former Louisiana Tech running back Boston Scott, who was selected in the sixth round of this year's draft.  

Despite the suspension, Ingram will still be allowed to participate in everything the Saints do this offseason, which means he'll be at training camp and he'll be allowed to play in each of the team's four preseason games. Ingram won't be banned from the team's facilities until the Saints start prepping for their Sept. 9 regular season opener against the Buccaneers

Ingram hasn't been at OTAs his offseason, because he apparently wants a new contract, according to NFL.com. Just a note to Mark: Being suspended is probably not the time to be asking for one of those. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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