WASHINGTON — Trent Murphy has been suspended for the first four games of the 2017 NFL season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs, per several reports.
Murphy is appealing the suspension.
He is coming off the best season of his three-year career, putting up 9.0 sacks after totaling 6.0 in the two seasons prior, and he added three forced fumbles and 27 tackles for a loss, all despite mostly backing up Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith. The positive test in the wake of a breakout season obviously doesn’t look good, but there is always the chance that it was simply a mix-up and Murphy took a substance he simply didn’t realize was banned.
“We don’t know what the substance was,” Mike Jones of The Washington Post told The Sports Junkies Monday morning.
It’s also worth noting that Murphy went through considerable body changes ahead of the season. Originally used as an outside linebacker, Murphy was asked to bulk up before the season in hopes of moving to defensive end, mostly due to the cluster of outside linebackers on the roster. At the time, Kerrigan, Smith and Junior Galette were all ahead of him on the depth chart, and the feeling was he’d struggle to find playing time unless he moved to the defensive line.
Then Galette suffered a second Achilles tear in as many seasons, and Murphy once again had an opening at outside linebacker, so he shed the weight he’d just added.
Whether or not that has anything to do with this suspension is unknown for now. But there are surely plenty of substances that would aid in that sort of body transformation. Again, this is purely speculation.