ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos will be without Wes Welker for the first four games of the season after the NFL said the receiver violated the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
Normally, the league announces such violations on Monday. News of Welker's ban didn't come until late Tuesday, after league offices had closed and the Broncos had already planned for their opener against Indianapolis.
ESPN first reported Welker's suspension, saying the violation had to do with amphetamines.
Welker, who practiced Monday for the first time since suffering a concussion last month, told the Denver Post in an email he was "as shocked as everyone at today's news." He said he would "never knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way."
Texans, Watt deal: J.J. Watt agreed to a six-year extension with the Texans, reportedly worth $100 million including a $10 million signing bonus and $51.8 million in guaranteed money overall. He's signed through 2021. Watt, 25, was the 2012 defensive player of the year after recording 201/2 sacks and batting down 16 passes.
Brent reinstated: Former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent is allowed to return, but not until after a 10-week ban. The league outlined some conditions Brent must meet to be eligible to play by November. Brent retired last year and was sentenced to 180 days in jail in the intoxication manslaughter death of teammate Jerry Brown. A 10-year prison sentence was suspended.
Bills sale: At least three groups, including Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, have entered final negotiations to buy the team. AP reported that New York real estate mogul Donald Trump and a Toronto-based group also have received formal documents; bids must be submitted by Monday. The team is being sold after Ralph Wilson — the team's founder and Hall of Fame inductee — died in March.
49ers: Coach Jim Harbaugh spoke out against domestic violence but cautioned against a rush to judgment on defensive tackle Ray McDonald, a former Gator who Sunday was charged with felony domestic violence. "There's going to be two principles at play here," Harbaugh said on a radio segment. "One is, I'll speak for myself and I'll speak for the 49ers, we'll not tolerate domestic violence. The second principle is going to be: we're firm believers in due process, and I ask for your understanding in those two principles."
Jets: Safety Antonio Allen, concussed Aug. 22, was medically cleared and was told he will start — at cornerback — in Sunday's opener against Oakland.
Saints: They re-signed kicker Shayne Graham, who they had cut on Saturday.