The Eagles will have a little less depth at inside linebacker to start next season. The NFL has suspended second year player Jake Knott for the first four games of the 2014 season without pay for violating the league's performance enhancing substance policy, according to the team.
Knott was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Eagles immediately after the 2013 NFL Draft. He was used mostly special teams and appeared in 12 games last season. He finished the year with eight tackles. The Iowa State product is a favorite of coaching staff and this is definitely a step back as far his development. He was already behind the likes of DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and Najee Goode on the depth chart, but with the draft on the horizon and Jason Phillips returning from ACL injury, Knott could face an uphill battle make the roster.
The team has released a statement on the matter:
"We’re very disappointed to learn of his suspension. We have spoken to Jake and he is fully aware of the mistake he made and owned it. The key for him, however, is to learn from that mistake and move forward with his preparation for the 2014 season."
Knott, who will be eligible to participate in offseason workouts and preseason games, also spoke on the matter in an official statement:
"Several weeks ago, I was shocked to learn that I tested positive for a stimulant that is banned by the NFL. I have never knowingly ingested a banned substance, but like most players, I take nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, I now know that supplements are not regulated and thus may contain things that are not listed on the label. The NFL policy is very strict, so I have chosen to take immediate responsibility. I look forward to participating in team workouts, training camp and the pre-season with my team. During the suspension, I will work extremely hard to stay in top football shape and be ready to contribute immediately upon my return. I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches, my family and fans for the impact of my mistake on the team."
The Eagles are expected to address inside linebacker in the draft, which is loaded at the position. Potential targets may include Alabama's C.J. Mosley, FSU's Christian Jones, Wisconsin's Chris Borland, UCLA's Jordan Zumwalt and Iowa's Christian Kirksey.