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Wes Welker suspended for 4 games for amphetamine use

The Broncos will be without one of their top wide receivers for the first four games of the season.

Ronald Martinez

SB Nation 2014 NFL Guide

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has been suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy by testing positive for amphetamines, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. A positive test for any substance in the NFL's PED program results in an automatic four-game suspension, even for a first-time offense.

According to Pro Football Talk, Welker took "Molly," or pure MDMA, at the Kentucky Derby and it was cut with amphetamines. While taking the pure MDMA alone likely would not subject Welker to suspension for a first-time positive test, the drug sometimes contains an amphetamine component, which falls under the league's PED policy, and led to Welker's punishment.

Welker had recently returned to the practice field after suffering his third concussion in 10 months during a preseason game on Aug. 23. He had not been cleared for contact and was still questionable for Sunday night's regular season opener against the Colts. The Broncos first four opponents -- the Colts, Chiefs, Seahawks and Cardinals -- combined to win more than 70 percent of their games last season.

Welker's suspension is a big blow to the Broncos' receiving game. Welker has 3,701 receiving yards over the last three seasons, the fifth-most in the NFL, and his 313 receptions in that span are tops in the league. Welker did miss three games last season in Weeks 15-17, and the Broncos went 2-1 without him.

Welker's four-game suspension will cost him nearly $2 million in salary, according to Spotrac: