Welker, entering his second season with Denver, was suspended after testing positive for amphetamines in May. Because amphetamines are categorized as performance enhancing drugs, the positive test carried a four-game suspension.
"I'm as shocked as everyone at todays news," Welker said in an e-mail 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.
"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."
Welker is currently recovering from his third concussion in the past 10 months, sustained in the Broncos' preseason game on Aug. 23. He appealed the suspension in Washington, D.C., earlier this month but was denied. He will be eligible to return for Denver's Week 6 game against the New York Jets.
The 33-year-old had 778 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last season in 13 games. He missed the final three regular season games following his second concussion in four weeks but returned for the team's run to the Super Bowl.
Denver opens the season Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
- Paul Palladino