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Nelson on his suspension

Here's a statement Bills tight end Shawn Nelson made to a group of media after practice today at St. John Fisher College. Nelson is out the first four games of the regular season due to a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Said Nelson: "On behalf of my team, my family, my church family, the great city of Buffalo and my fans I want to say I apologize. It’s not nothing bad, nothing illegal that happened. There’s rumors that it was dealing with some different type of things that myself was not involved in. I’m not that guy. I’m a guy of character, a guy who works hard. I’ll be suspended the first four games of the season. I’ll be back on Oct. 4. I’m excited about getting back with my team and working out with my team. I spoke with some of my teammates earlier today and told them what was really going on. I spoke to my coaches and my GM. We’re all on the same page. We have the same plan down. I’ll be working out with Tom Shaw in Orlando getting ready for the rest of the season. If you want to know about my playing time when I get back, you’ll have to talk to Chan Gailey about that."

Shaw is a former strength coach of the New England Patriots who runs a speed and performance training center for top athletes in Orlando. That's where Nelson will go on Sept. 4. He's not allowed to train with the Bills from then until Oct. 4.

Here's what Chan Gailey said: "I always hate it when that kind of situation happens. You hate it for your football team and you hate it for the individual involved. As part of our process today you have to go by the rules and you pay for it when you don’t."

Nelson did not play in Thursday's game in Toronto and did not practice Saturday. But Gailey said the reason was Nelson had a minor muscle pull in practice last week. Gailey said Nelson would be back on the field when he's healthy, which should be soon.

It's uncertain what Nelson meant by saying nothing illegal happened, which could be the case. He did not take any questions. The NFL substance abuse policy prohibits the illegal use of drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and alcohol. Players are tested only for cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine and its analogs, opiates (such as morphine and codeine), phencyclidine (PCP); and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“MDMA”) and its analogues until they test positive. Then they are subject to wider screening.

---Mark Gaughan

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