Watson announced and explained the suspension in a Facebook post.
New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson will serve a four-game suspension to start the 2019 season, Watson announced in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Watson, 38, admitted to briefly using testosterone after he retired from the Saints and before he came out of retirement with the Patriots to help "assist in healing my body and mind."
“On March 29, nine days after I started therapy, I was randomly tested under our substance policies," he wrote. "I complied out of habit, never thinking in that moment I’d want to come back. In late April, some clubs expressed interest in me playing and after much deliberation and prayer, I decided I wanted to return. Considering myself previously retired, I had forgotten all about my test in March until I got a letter on May 3rd saying my results were positive."
"I was devastated and for obvious reasons did not want to proceed," Watson added. "At that point I knew that my decision to return to play would include a four game suspension and I immediately discussed this new development with the clubs. Ultimately I decided to pursue another year and on May 9 the Patriots offered me a contract in spite of these circumstances.”
Watson wrote that he understands that the rules are what they are and accepts the suspension.
“I respect the regulations that have been collectively bargained to promote fairness on the field of play and accept the discipline associated with my infraction,” Watson said.
In December, the 15-year veteran announced his decision to retire after the conclusion of the 2018 season. Watson played for the Saints last season in mostly a reserve role, recording 35 catches for 400 yards and two touchdowns. His contract with New Orleans expired after the 2018 season. In April, Watson decided he was returning for the 2019 season.
The Patriots selected Watson in the first round of the 2004 draft, and he spent the first six seasons of his career with New England. He also played for the Browns and Ravens and had two stints with the Saints. Watson has tallied 530 catches, 5,885 yards and 44 touchdowns during his career.
Watson can still participate in all offseason workout but will have to be away from the team for the first four weeks of the regular season. His first game back on the field will be Oct. 6 against the Washington Redskins.