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Saints rookie Jake Haener suspended 6 games for violating NFL’s PED policy

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New Orleans Saints rookie quarterback Jake Haener has been suspended six games after the league announced Wednesday that he violated its performance-enhancing drug policy.

Haener, a fourth-round pick out of Fresno State, will be eligible to return to the Saints’ roster on Oct. 16. In the meantime, he is suspended without pay before his first year in the NFL even begins, forfeiting $250,000 of his $750,000 base salary for the season. 

In a statement provided by NFL Network, Haener said he isn’t sure how the banned substance entered his body.

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Jake Haener throws ball

Quarterback Jake Haener of the New Orleans Saints is shown during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on August 20, 2023. (John McCoy/Getty Images)

“I recently learned that I tested positive for a substance banned by the NFL earlier this summer,” Haener wrote. “I still do not know how the substance got into my body, as none of my supplements or prescribed medications contain the banned ingredient. I would never knowingly cheat the game that I love, however I must take full responsibility for the failed test. I apologize to the Saints organization, my friends and my family for any distraction this suspension may cause.”

“I am disappointed to be away from the team for the coming weeks, but I will learn and grow from this experience. I look forward to returning to the team as soon as possible.”

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Haener was practicing with New Orleans on Wednesday prior to his positive test results going public.

He has been the third-team quarterback throughout training camp as veteran Derek Carr joins the Saints as the team’s starter with Jameis Winston as his backup. 

However, with Week 1 approaching, he was listed as the fourth-team quarterback with Swiss Army knife Taysom Hill ahead of him as the third-stringer. Hill, of course, plays everywhere for the Saints on offense.

Jake Haener throws ball

Jake Haener of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass during the preseason game against the Houston Texans, August 27, 2023, in New Orleans. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Head coach Dennis Allen referred to that depth chart move as a “clerical thing.”

“Taysom took, I think, almost 50% of his snaps last year at the quarterback position,” Allen said, per ESPN. “So, I don’t know that there’s anything really to that other than he kind of plays a lot of different positions.”

Haener is the second suspended Saints player before Week 1 as star running back Alvin Kamara will miss the first three games of the season after violating the league’s personal conduct policy for his role in a Las Vegas fight in 2022.

Jake Haener runs with ball

Jake Haener of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during a preseason game, August 13, 2023, in New Orleans. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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Haener spent his freshman year at Washington before transferring to Fresno State, where he would start three seasons for the Bulldogs. He racked up 9,120 yards and 68 touchdowns to 18 interceptions in four collegiate seasons.

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