Saints running back Mark Ingram has been suspended four games by the NFL for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, reports The Advocate. The suspension will cover the first four weeks of the 2018 NFL season barring a potential appeal from Ingram’s camp.
Ingram, a 2011 first-round pick, has been one of the Saints’ key playmakers during his seven-year career. He topped 1,000 total yards in each of the past four seasons and set career-highs in 2017 with 1,124 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on 230 carries.
The Saints found an appeal complement for Ingram last year in breakout star Alvin Kamara, who proved to be a versatile creator out of the backfield. Kamara, a 2017 third-round pick, recorded 728 rushing yards, 826 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns while pushing Adrian Peterson out of the depth chart by Week 5.
Kamara has little experience as the lead back in an offense, even dating back to his time at Tennessee, but he’ll likely be leaned to help eat touches while Ingram is out. Boston Scott, a running back out of Louisiana Tech drafted by the Saints with their 2018 sixth-round pick, could also have a larger-than-expected opportunity in the fall with Ingram suspended.