Robert Turbin was already a journeyman before Friday. Headed into his seventh NFL season, Turbin has already played for the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts, and players who move around so much and produce so little tend not to be high priorities for teams when disciplinary issues arise. A major one has just been dropped on Turbin, as the veteran running back announced on Twitter that he will be suspended for a violation of the NFL’s performance enhancing drugs policy.
As a first-time offender, Turbin will face only a four-game suspension. But the Colts may not be overly motivated to keep Turbin around in light of this news. Marlon Mack was already ahead of Turbin on the depth chart, and the team drafted running back Nyheim Hines in the fourth round and has high hopes for him. Turbin will now have to prove to the Colts in training camp that he is necessary and an absolute upgrade over any other third running back they might have. Turbin has never put up particularly impressive numbers. He has topped out at 310 yards on the ground, and last season he carried the ball only 23 times for 53 yards. He is 28-years-old at a position in which players tend to age very quickly, so his future is very much in doubt with this news.
This has been a very suspension-heavy offseason for the NFL, as 19 players are now slated to start the season under suspension according to Steven Taranto of 247Sports. Many of those players, including Julian Edelman and Mark Ingram, are big-name stars. The NFL is cracking down from both a disciplinary and PED perspective, and players don’t seem to have caught up with advances in testing methods.
Of those 19 players opening the season suspended, 15 of them have been suspended for performance enhancing drug violations. Those suspensions range for the four-game variety that Turbin is going to face to a two-year suspension for repeat-offender Jerrell Freeman of the Chicago Bears. The NFL takes positive tests extremely seriously in light of the growing safety concerns involved with the game of football. Introducing banned substances can not only cause damage to the players who take them, but also to the players who have to play against those who do. The fact that so many big names have been caught this offseason shows just how important this issue is to the league office.
Turbin is not in remotely the same class as those players, but the rules apply across the board. Turbin violated them, and will now be punished as a result. At the very least, he is owning up to that and does not seem like he is planning to make an appeal.