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Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been suspended for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced on Friday.
Gathers is eligible to participate in all off-season and preseason practices and games, including training camp. He will be eligible to return to the Cowboys’ active roster on September 9 following the team’s September 8 game against the New York Giants.
Gathers’ attorney Daniel Moskowitz declined to comment.
The suspension stems from when Gathers was arrested last September by Frisco police for marijuana possession after being caught smoking on a bench.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana charge in March. The conviction will be expunged from his record if he stays out of trouble for 90 days. Gathers also had to pay a $99 fine.
Gathers, 25, arrived as a sixth-round draft pick in 2016 after playing college basketball at Baylor.
He didn’t get on the field in 2016 or 2017 as he continued to learn the game. Gathers saw his first regular-season action in 2018, catching three passes for 45 yards in 15 appearances.
He hopes to finally earn a larger role in 2019, though the return of Jason Witten from a one-year retirement and the presence of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz makes additional playing time scarce for Gathers. And that’s if he makes the team out of training camp.
Patience for his ongoing transition from basketball to football is growing thin.