THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the season for violating the National Football League’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
Bailey was a third-round draft pick last year out of West Virginia University, and made two starts. He had 17 receptions with a 13.3-yard average and also ran for a 27-yard touchdown. He caught only one pass through the first 10 games of his rookie season, but finished with receptions in the Rams’ final six games.
Bailey will be eligible to return to the roster on Monday, Oct. 6, before the Rams’ next game against San Francisco. He is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
The 23-year-old Bailey sent out messages on the social media website Twitter after the news of the suspension spread Monday afternoon.
“I want to be clear that I’ve never taken any performance enhancing products. I acknowledge that a violation of the league policy occurred and that I am responsible for that violation,” Bailey tweeted.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that a source close to Bailey said the player did not take any performancing enhancing substances. “No word on what he took,” Rapoport said on his Twitter account.
Bailey’s suspension will reportedly cost him $120,000.
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Bailey exited the WVU football program as one of the most prolific receivers in school history. He finished second all-time in career receptions (210) to current Rams teammate Tavon Austin, and Bailey’s 3,218 career receiving yards is also second-most in Mountaineers history.
Bailey’s 41 receiving touchdowns in three seasons are the most in WVU history, 12 more than Austin’s 29. Bailey also holds the individual receiving records for most yards in a game (303), most yards in a season (1,622), most receptions in a game (14), most touchdowns in a game (five) and most TDs in a season (25).
The Rams selected Bailey with No. 92 overall pick after he decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL draft. He signed a four-year contract worth $2.7 million.
The Rams did not select a wide receiver in last week’s draft, although without Bailey the team has Austin, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Kenny Britt on the roster.
St. Louis opens the 2014 regular season at home against the Minnesota Vikings. Bailey will also miss games at Tampa Bay, home against Dallas and at Philadelphia. The Rams are off in between the games against the Cowboys and Eagles.