Evans facing ban

The New York Times reported today that Jets defensive tackle Josh Evans tested positive for marijuana use. The story was backed up by three different sources.<p>

Since Evans has been suspended twice already for the same offense, he could face a lifetime ban. The NFL has a "three strikes and you are out" drug policy.

This story should not come as a surprise. Remember right before the Jets signed him late last off-season, he was about to be suspended for life for his third violation, but was exonerated thanks to a loophole. He unfortunately has a deep-seated addiction, and it looks like might have reappeared.

"We as a club don't comment on that," said Jets publicist Ron Colangelo. "It's a league matter."

Thanks to their draft day trade to acquire the draft's best defensive tackle, Dewayne Robertson, the Jets should be okay if Evans is suspended. While they didn't want to start him this fast, the fourth pick in the draft should be a player who is able to start from the get-go. However, Robertson is unsigned at this point. While the chances of Robertson holding out are slim, this Evans situation enhances his bargaining position. Also remember, Robertson is represented by agent Hadley Engelhard, who held out Kansas City's first round defensive tackle, Ryan Sims, until the end of August last summer.

Evans claims the story is untrue.

"I did not use or smoke marijuana," Evans told the Times. "I didn't smoke, I didn't use marijuana in no type of way."

We will find out the truth in the next few days, but the Times had three sources on the story. The chances of it being wrong, are remote.

So if Evans is gone, what will that do to the Jets important rotation at defensive tackle? Remember the Jets rotate their defensive tackles quite a bit to keep them fresh. If Evans is out of the picture, the Jets would obviously start Jason Ferguson and Robertson at the defensive tackle positions. Rotating in for them will be James Reed and Alan Harper. This is a big summer for Harper. The Jets fourth round pick in 2002, he was basically redshirted last year in order to get stronger. He was built to play the three-technique tackles position with his quickness and pass rushing skills. As a senior at Fresno State, he had 12 sacks. The question about Harper is his speed after he ran 5.29 forty. If Harper lives up to his potential, he and Robertson could give the Jets a nice rotation at the three-technique. The only problem with that rotation is that it lacks experience.

If Evans is given a lifetime ban, it will likely turn out to be a year. You can appeal after a year for reinstatement. Evans, who is a terrific guy, would be a strong candidate to be reinstated after one season.

The Jets can only hope that, if Evans is suspended, they can recoup the $3 million bonus they gave him this off-season. One would have to think they protected themselves in case Evans received a lifetime ban, considering his history.

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