New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson will not play during the first four games of the 2019 season due to a failed drug test.
Watson re-signed with the Patriots earlier this month.
In a Facebook post, Watson wrote that doctors prescribed him "Bio Identical Testosterone Cypionate" as part of an offseason treatment plan to recover from injuries.
In the post, Watson wrote that he had no plans to return to football after the 2018 season due to injuries and health concerns, and started pursuing other career opportunities.
He said that after every season during his playing career, Watson would visit with a few doctors for health screenings, and to identify cumulative effects of injuries and make offseason recovery plans.
"As a professional athlete for the last 15 years I know very well the limitations on what can be prescribed for my overall health. After my contract expired last March I told my doctors I was finished playing, went through a series of medical tests and was prescribed Bio Identical Testosterone Cypionate to assist in healing my body and mind," Watson wrote.
Watson later writes that nine days after he started therapy, he was randomly tested.
"I complied out of habit, never thinking in that moment I'd want to come back. In late April, some clubs expressed interest in me playing and after much deliberation and prayer, I decided I wanted to return. Considering myself previously retired, I had forgotten all about my test in March until I got a letter on May 3rd saying my results were positive. I was devastated and for obvious reasons did not want to proceed. At that point I knew that my decision to return to play would include a four game suspension and I immediately discussed this new development with the clubs," Watson wrote.
"Ultimately I decided to pursue another year and on May 9 the Patriots offered me a contract in spite of these circumstances. I am excited and thankful to return to New England but very disappointed that I will not be able to play and contribute immediately. This is not how I would want to enter a new locker room and attempt to earn my role on a new team. However, I respect the regulations that have been collectively bargained to promote fairness on the field of play and accept the discipline associated with my infraction. My goals as an athlete, teammate, friend, father, husband and believer have not changed. To live a life of integrity and humility while standing for kindness, justice and righteousness and to serve the people in the cities, regions and organizations that God places me in. Until my last day I will continue to pursue excellence in my craft and perform to the best of my ability. I am grateful for yet another opportunity to do so in the NFL."