ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Seantrel Henderson has decided to drop plans to appeal the NFL’s four-game suspension even though his agent said the Bills right tackle was using marijuana for medicinal purposes to relieve the effects of Crohn’s disease.
The Bills announced Henderson was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Henderson’s agent, Brian Fettner, told The Associated Press that his client tested positive for marijuana. Fettner added it was “futile” to appeal the league’s ruling.
Henderson was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease late last year, and had two operations on his intestines this past offseason. Doctors removed a section of diseased tissue in January, and Henderson then had his intestines reattached in April.
Henderson declined to comment following practice Friday, two days before Buffalo opens the season at Baltimore. Jordan Mills will start at right tackle after taking over the job once Henderson was sidelined in December.
Several studies have found marijuana can be an effective treatment for Crohn’s. In New York, the state’s medical marijuana program specifically lists patients diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease as being potentially eligible to obtain medical marijuana.
Henderson previously acknowledged testing positive for the drug at the NFL combine in 2014 and said positive tests led to him being suspended several times in college.
He rejoined the team in late May and was cleared for practice last month . He won’t be eligible to practice until Oct. 3, a day after the Bills play at New England.
Henderson was Buffalo’s starting right tackle since his rookie season in 2014, when Buffalo drafted him in the seventh round out of the University of Miami.
Henderson becomes the latest Bills player to be disciplined by the NFL over the past two months.
Last month, starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said he was checking into a rehab facility after being suspended for the first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for a second straight year.
Backup running back Karlos Williams faced the same suspension before he was cut three weeks ago. Last week, the Bills released linebacker Manny Lawson, who was being investigated by the NFL on whether he violated the league’s player personal conduct policy.
Coach Rex Ryan declined to comment specifically on Henderson’s suspension, but expressed concern with how the Bills might be perceived in light of the string of off-field issues.
“I guess from afar, people who don’t know the team can look at that a certain way. I’m not here to try to convince people otherwise,” Ryan said. “We’re not perfect. We’ve made mistakes. And obviously, we hope that everybody involved learns from it.”
The Bills filled Henderson’s roster spot by promoting kicker Jordan Gay from their practice squad. Gay was cut by Buffalo last month after spending the past two seasons as the team’s kickoff specialist. The Bills re-signed him this past week.
Ryan noted Gay has a stronger leg on kickoffs than Dan Carpenter, which should allow Buffalo to keep the ball away from Ravens newly signed return specialist Devin Hester.
NOTES: The Bills signed newly acquired center Patrick Lewis to a one-year extension that will pay him a $1.2 million base salary next year. Buffalo claimed Lewis off waivers on Aug. 31, a day after he was cut by Seattle. Lewis had 13 starts in 16 games over two seasons with the Seahawks. … S Colt Anderson (foot) and CB Kevon Seymour (hamstring) are listed as out against Baltimore.
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