The Indianapolis Colts were hoping to have a deep defensive line this season, but a four-game suspension of Art Jones will be a blow to this promising unit.
News broke this afternoon that oft-injured defensive lineman Art Jones has been suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy. Jones was out all of last season after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason.
The deal to sign Jones continues to be a disaster for the Colts. Since signing in 2014, Jones has only appeared in nine games and has scarcely made an impact in those few games. In those games, Jones had just 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.
The official statement from the NFL, via the Colts, doesn’t shed much light on the situation:
"Arthur Jones of the Indianapolis Colts has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2016 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.Jones will be eligible to return to the Colts’ active roster on Monday, October 3 following the team’s October 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.Jones is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games."
There is no denying that a healthy Jones could make a big impact on the defensive line. This unit was already deep and talented without Jones, but adding him to the rotation would make this facet of the defense an impressive force.
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There is now a very real chance that the Colts decide to cut their losses with Jones and skew towards this younger, healthier line. The investment in Jones simply hasn’t panned out.
The Colts are also waiting on the return of defensive end Henry Anderson, who is still recovering from a mid-season ACL tear. Anderson was having a Rookie of the Year-caliber season in 2015 before it was cut short. The Colts have been vague on when Anderson will be ready to go, but he’ll likely start camp on the PUP list.
If Jones makes the final roster, we could see both him and Anderson taking the field at the same time. Luckily this is a fairly deep unit and some younger players will be given a chance to shine in the preseason and first quarter of the regular season.