OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Strike two for Asa Jackson.
The Baltimore Ravens and former Cal Poly cornerback was suspended without pay for the first eight games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances for the second time.
He lost four games last season under the same policy, and the former Mustangs
All-American each time attributed the failed tests to Adderall usage.
This time, Jackson said, he believed he was within the rules.
“I was diagnosed with a condition that can be treated with a medication allowed under the NFL/NFLPA policy after a player obtains a therapeutic use exemption,” Jackson said in a statement to the Baltimore Sun. “I now have the required approval, but the positive test occurred before it was approved. The policy is very strict, so I have chosen to be immediately accountable.
“I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches, and Ravens fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and preseason, training hard during the discipline period and contributing to the team immediately upon my return.”
According to the Sun, the suspension will cost Jackson $225,882 of his $480,000 base salary.
And it could cost him much more. Currently in training camp with the Ravens and eligible to compete in practice and preseason games before the start of the regular season,
Jackson must prove his worth.
The team could decide to part ways with what is now an inexperienced reserve.
“My reaction to that is that you’ve got to follow the rules,” Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh told the media after practice Friday. “If you don’t follow the rules, you get suspended. That’s a fair rule, there’s no place for that, and he’s getting what he deserves.
“As far as what it does to our corner depth, it’s one less corner that we have. We will be missing Asa for the first eight weeks. Whether he’ll be back after that, time will tell. It doesn’t count against your 53-man roster. It just means he’s out of the picture.
“What he needs to do is have a great camp and make us want him back after eight weeks, and try to be in position to help us during the second half of the season. That will be a big challenge for him. We’ve talked about it quite a bit, and he’s up for that challenge.”
Drafted in the fifth round out of Cal Poly, Jackson played in only two games last season for the Super Bowl champions.
Jackson will be eligible to return to the active roster Nov. 4 after the team’s game against Cleveland on Nov. 3. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
Hours after the news broke, Jackson took to Twitter to defend himself to critics.
“I know the #ravennation is real disappointed in me right now, but it isn’t what you think.” Jackson typed. “I was prescribed medicine for my ADD, but our Team dr quit and never turned in my paperwork.
“Although I am responsible for what is in my body, this is just a bad situation that wasn’t Really my fault. But I do take responsibility for it, and will face the consequences. Love y’all always and I look forward to ballin this Preseason and when I get back week 9. Stay up #ravennation!”