NEW YORK (AFP) – The National Football League suspended a half dozen players after they failed doping tests, league officials announced on Tuesday.
Defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, a trio of players with the New Orleans Saints - running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant - and center Bryan Pittman of the Houston Texans were slapped with four-game suspensions for violating the league's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.
The NFL's disciplinary officials did not release the name of the drug but it is reportedly a masking agent for steroids.
It was a big setback for the NFC North-leading Vikings, who lost the heart of their interior line with the suspensions of the Williamses, who are both Pro Bowlers.
The Saints, who are teetering on the edge of playoff elimination, also lose a pair of players with the expulsions of Smith and McAllister.
Grant was placed on season-ending injured reserve last month.