New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata announced on social media Friday that he has been suspended by the NFL after testing positive for a banned substance. The 28-year-old said he was "surprised and disappointed" with this news while noting he never knowingly took a substance banned by the league and is currently reviewing all of the supplements he took around the time of the positive test. The NFL has since confirmed the suspension and revealed Onyemata will be sidelined for six games.
"I was informed by the NFLPA yesterday that I have tested positive for a banned substance resulting in a suspension for part of the 2021 NFL season," Onyemata said in a statement released on social media. "While I was certainly surprised and disappointed with this news, I am responsible for what I put in my body. As I have never knowingly taken anything that could cause a positive test, we are currently in the process of testing the supplements I was taking at the time of the test. Regardless, I am committed to being more aware of any medication and dietary supplements that may contain substances banned by the NFL."
Onyemata will be eligible to return to New Orleans after its Week 7 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. Despite the suspension, he will be able to take part and play throughout training camp and the preseason. Back in 2019, Onyemata received a one-game suspension for violation of the substance abuse policy surrounding marijuana.
Onyemata arrived in New Orleans in 2016 when the club selected the Nigeria native in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Out of the gate, the 6-foot-4, 300 pounder became a key piece to the Saints' front seven and has developed into a weekly starter over the previous two seasons. The club even inked Onyemata to a three-year, $27 million extension back in 2018 that has him under contract through the 2022 season.
In 2020, Onyemata enjoyed a career year after totaling a high of 6.5 sacks, 44 tackles, and 16 quarterback hits. That sack total was third-best on the team last year with Onyemata only looking up to Trey Hendrickson (13.5) and Cam Jordan (7.5). With those contributions in mind, New Orleans will be missing a key piece to its defense as it begins the 2021 season.