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Friday, May 31, 2013
Isaiah Pead and West's long suspension list

By Mike Sando

Add St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead to the list of recent NFC West draft choices suspended to open the 2013 NFL season.

Pead, a second-round choice in 2012, will serve a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy for substance abuse. He joins 2012 Rams fifth-round pick Rokevious Watkins, 2012 Seattle Seahawks first-round pick Bruce Irvin, and 2010 Arizona Cardinals second-rounder Daryl Washington on the list of NFC West players suspended to open the season.

Pead and Watkins will serve one-game suspensions under the substance-abuse policy. Washington will serve a four-game ban under the same policy. Irvin will serve a four-game ban under the NFL's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

All four players remain eligible to practice with their teams and participate in offseason programs.

Violators of the substance-abuse policy who have not yet reached Stage Three of the program can remain eligible at their teams' discretion to participate in team meetings and other functions during the season, but they cannot participate in games or practices.

Substance-abuse suspensions generally span four games. One-game suspensions suggest the player entered the program without incurring positive tests, perhaps voluntarily. Players arrested on drug-related charges can also incur one-game suspensions, although there is no evidence that is the case with Pead.

The NFL and its teams do not disclose particulars, citing confidentiality rules, so it's difficult to know for sure what happened in specific cases.

Pead is competing for playing time at running back as the Rams move forward without Steven Jackson. Rookie Zac Stacy and second-year running back Daryl Richardson are also among those competing. The team figures to take more of a committee approach than rely upon one runner. A one-game setback isn't going to crush Pead's chances for the long term, but it's a strike against him following a rookie season in which he ranked fourth on the team in carries with 10, trailing even quarterback Sam Bradford.