Wes Welker, the standout wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, has been suspended for four games for performance-enhancing drug (PED) use.

Wes Welker Suspended

Welker tried to appeal the finding that he’d violated the NFL’s PED policy two weeks ago, but it was announced Tuesday that he’d lost the appeal and would be suspended for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season, reported ESPN. Addressing the suspension, Welker admitted he was shocked about his suspension and emphatically stated that he did not knowingly take a PED.

“I’m as shocked as everyone at today’s news,” Welker said in an email to the Denver Post. "I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would NEVER knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way. Anyone who has ever played a down with me, lifted a weight with me, even eaten a meal with me, knows that I focus purely on what I put in my body and on the hard work I put in year round to perform at the highest levels year-in and year-out."

"I want any youth football players and all sports fans to know, there are NO shortcuts to success, and nothing but hard work and studying, leads to success,” Welker added.

Welker, who has refuted rumors that he did Molly or smoked marijuana, went on to state his belief that there’s a problem with the league’s PED policy. "I have never been concerned with the leagues performance enhancing or drug abuse policies because under no scenario would they ever apply to me, but I now know, that (drug-policy procedures) are clearly flawed, and I will do everything in my power to ensure they are corrected, so other individuals and teams aren't negatively affected so rashly like this.”

John Fox Reacts To Welker Suspension

Broncos head coach John Fox also expressed his disappointment with the NFL’s ruling, but also shared his confidence that the team’s depth will cover the hole left in Welker’s absence.

"Tonight's news regarding Wes is very disappointing for our team, but we understand the league's authority in this area," Fox said in a statement. "While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the year, I have full confidence in our wide receivers and expect that group to continue playing at a high level.”

Tight end Jacob Tamme and receivers Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer will likely be the primary players picking up the slack.

Welker, who will return to the Broncos following the team’s games against Indianapolis, Kansas City, Seattle and Arizona, concluded his email:

"I have worked my whole life to be the best that I can be, and I have encountered many obstacles over my career, and THIS WILL BE NO DIFFERENT! Thank you for the outpouring of support, and I want Bronco nation to know, that no one and no thing will get in the way of our goal as a team, to bring Mr. Bowlen the trophy he and this great region deserve."

The Broncos will also be missing star kicker Matt Prater for a number of games this season due to an alcohol related violation.

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