Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller has been suspended for six games by the NFL for a performance-enhancing drug violation. This means he will not play again this season as the Texans have just five games remaining.
"Earlier this year, I sought treatment from a medical professional who prescribed medication that he believed to be permitted under the NFL's drug policy," said Fuller on his Instagram. "As it turns out, my trust in this professional was misplaced because this medication was NOT a permitted substance under the NFL Policy on Performance Enhancing Substances."
"As a result of this mistake, I have been suspended for six games for taking this prohibited medication. I want to sincerely apologize to the Texans organization and all of my fans for this mistake. I am looking forward to putting this all behind me and returning better than ever in 2021."
Fuller has been plagued by injuries since he entered the NFL, having never played a full 16 game season. However, in 2020, Fuller had been enjoying a healthy career year in the absence of the now-traded DeAndre Hopkins.
The former Notre Dame standout has 879 receiving yards to his name, along with eight touchdowns - both career highs. Now, with this news, his accomplishments may come across as somewhat tainted. A blemish on his otherwise clean resume.
Out of contract after this season, this means Fuller may well have played his final game for the Texans should the new general manager opt against re-signing him.
When considering that the Texans did discuss trading Fuller prior to the NFL trade deadline, and given his feelings about these discussions, it was already looking like a tall order to keep him in Houston.
"To be honest, it really sucked," said Fuller earlier this month of the trade rumors. "Just being shopped around like that. Just giving this organization my all. Coming to work every day. Very unselfish player. Do everything they asked and then just to be shopped around - I did feel a certain type of way."
Throwing in the news of his suspension, and the price he may demand on the market ... and this may require some effort to avoid an eventual divorce.
Regardless of where he ends up, it will be interesting to see how this might impact his market value. Someone will surely ask: Can Fuller stay healthy without the help of PED's?
If he is indeed telling the truth, and there is no reason to believe otherwise given his record, it is hard not to feel sympathetic for Fuller. The fifth-year pro had finally emerged as a top receiver and had been playing lights-out in recent weeks.
READ MORE: Deshaun For NFL MVP?
Looking to the Texans, this news leaves them with Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, and Isaiah Coulter on the active roster, with Randall Cobb on IR. Recently released receiver Kenny Stills is currently a free agent after clearing waivers; it can be argued that he could be a logical player to re-examine.
The Texans are currently 4-7, having defeated the Detroit Lions 41-25 on Thanksgiving, where Fuller finished with 171 yards receiving and two touchdowns. They face AFC South rivals the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at NRG Stadium.