Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan announced Wednesday afternoon on Twitter and Instagram that he has been suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2019 season for testing positive for a banned supplement.
Lewan in his post said he was contacted three weeks ago by the NFL informing him of the suspension.
“I received a letter from the NFL three weeks ago saying that I had failed a drug test for ostarine,” Lewan said in the video he posted. “Osterin is a supplement banned from WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) in 2007.”
The Titans standout, who became the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman last August with a five-year, $80 million extension, emphasized in his statement that he had never knowingly taken the banned supplement, becoming emotional at times on camera.
“The way the CBA works is a strict liability policy, so I’m completely responsible for the things that are in my body, whether the supplement I’m taking has it on the label or not. I want everybody to know that I’ve never taken this supplement knowingly, and I’ve never cheated the game, and I never will. I have notes. Those things don’t really matter,” Lewan said. “What’s really important to me is that people know I’m not a cheater. I went and did a polygraph test about ostarine and knowingly taking it. I passed that test. I’ve never taken anything that would cheat the game.
“I’m so sorry to the Tennessee Titans. It’s just hard. I’m sorry to the Titans and to the fans that I won’t be there for four games. I’ve never cheated myself and I never want you guys to feel cheated. And I’m sorry. I’m gonna be better for this. I’m gonna come back.”
Lewan said that ostarine is the same supplement that a handful of UFC fighters were suspended for using and the same substance that caused three Clemson players to face suspension during last season’s college football national playoffs.
“I’ll do whatever I can to prove that I’ve never done anything wrong in regards to supplements or taking anything knowingly. Thank you so much for watching this video, and thank you to everyone who supports me,” Lewan said.
Thank you to everyone who sees this video and supports me. My family and I are so grateful to the Tennessee Titans organization and fans for your support. I will post the polygraph information next. #NoBadDays pic.twitter.com/lE9iEMmLxw
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) July 24, 2019
Lewan will be able to practice with the Titans in training camp as players report on Thursday and start practice on Friday. He will be able to play in preseason games, but once the regular season starts, he cannot come to the team’s facility, nor can he have contact with the organization during the length of the suspension. He will miss the Titans season opener at Cleveland, then AFC South games at home against Indianapolis and at Jacksonville, plus a road game at Atlanta.
Lewan will be eligible to return to the Titans on Monday, Sept. 30 and play the following week against the Buffalo Bills.
With Lewan out of the mix, the Titans revamped offensive line suffers a crippling blow temporarily. The anticipated right tackle battle between Jack Conklin and Dennis Kelly likely comes to an end before it even begins. Conklin – if healthy – should slide back to right tackle where he played before being injured last year, causing Kelly, the third tackle the past few seasons, to fill in for Lewan on the left side.