Nathan Shepherd
AP Photo

New York Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd faces a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance policy.

The New York Jets will be without one of their defensive linemen for a while, as the depth of their front-seven diminishes.

Per Tom Pelissero of, defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd will face a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance policy. The veteran didn’t play Week 1, as learns he’s suspended and won’t return until the team’s Oct. 27 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Shepherd’s two failed drug tests reportedly occurred on June 27 and July 25. The intake of the banned substances was during Shepherd’s recovery from shoulder and groin injuries.

“All that was going on, I was coming off of a subpar season and a new coaching staff, new playbook, new everything,” Shepherd said. “In my mindset, I didn’t feel very confident with how everything had gone thus far. In my mind, I was so prepared to come into this offseason and have a successful offseason and train very hard. I felt that because of these limitations, I wasn’t going to be able to do that. I made a rash decision, an unwise decision and a selfish decision to look to certain PEDs in order to help me with that recovery process so I would be ready to go.”

Shepherd will continue to rehab and recover while he’s undergoing the suspension. If he violates the policy again, a minimum two-year ban would be implemented by the NFL.

“I’m still trying to get my feet under me, literally,” Shepherd said. “Most definitely, I want to be able to provide for my daughter and my family and myself, for sure. I don’t use that as a crutch, though, or an excuse, because I’m definitely not the only person in the NFL with kids.

“I feel like I used eight of my nine lives. I kind of have to treat it like I have a peanut allergy — if I get one more, it’s going to be over for me. That’s just my reality and I accept that.”

Through 16 games during his rookie campaign in 2018, Shepherd racked up 15 combined tackles and five quarterback hits.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.