Welker, Who Cashed Big at Derby, Suspended

Denver Broncos' receiver violated drug policy, the NFL said Sept. 2.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, who made a splash at this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was suspended for four games by the National Football League for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

The ban was released Sept. 2. ESPN first reported Welker's suspension, saying the violation had to do with amphetamines.

Welker told the Denver Post in an e-mail that he was "as shocked as everyone at today's news." He noted he's meticulous about what he puts in his body and would "never knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way."

He told the newspaper he tested positive soon after the Kentucky Derby and suggested someone may have put the drug in his drink.

The 11th-year pro who has been the NFL's top slot receiver over the last decade said he never concerned himself with the league's drug rules but now realizes those policies "are clearly flawed." Welker's suspension will cost him roughly $706,000 in base salary.

Welker, one of the many celebrities at the Kentucky Derby, cashed $57,193 on a winning bet at Churchill Downs and later handed out $100 bills to people in celebration. He then was sent a letter from Churchill, which demanded he pay back $14,898 because of a tote mistake.