Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys reserve lineman R.J. Dill suspended 4 games

Offensive tackle R.J. Dill, left, was a longshot to make the Dallas Cowboys roster. He was suspended four games by the NFL on Friday.
Offensive tackle R.J. Dill, left, was a longshot to make the Dallas Cowboys roster. He was suspended four games by the NFL on Friday.

Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman R.J. Dill said treatment for low testosterone caused a positive test for performance enhancing drugs. The NFL suspended Dill for the first four regular-season games.

Dill, though, was unlikely to make the team’s roster anyway. He remains eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games, but the Cowboys could include him in their first round of cuts next week.

The Cowboys reduce their roster from 90 to 75 on Tuesday and cut it to 53 on Sept. 5.

Dill, who was signed and released by four other teams since 2013, released a statement after his suspension was announced by the league.

He said he received testosterone replacement therapy under a doctor’s care when he believed his NFL career to be finished in November 2014. He signed with the Cowboys two months later and said his failed drug test came six months after his testosterone treatment, though he was told by the doctor that it would leave his system in eight weeks.

Here is his full statement:

I want to share personal details about the circumstances surrounding my suspension because there is a stigma associated with a suspension under the Performance Enhancing Substances Policy that is unwarranted in my case. In August 2014, I thought my dream of playing in the NFL was over, and I began to transition away from professional football. During these months away from football I noticed a drastic change in my energy and activity levels, so I saw my doctor, and blood tests revealed that my testosterone levels were very low. My doctor suggested that I undergo testosterone replacement therapy, and I accepted the recommended treatment. I completed one round of testosterone replacement therapy in November of 2014, and almost immediately, I felt like my old self again. At this time I was not under contract with any NFL team, nor was I actively pursuing an NFL career.

Then, in January of 2015, I unexpectedly received a call from the Dallas Cowboys. They were interested in signing me to a futures contract, and after passing a physical, I signed a contract and immersed myself in training for the 2015 NFL season. Unfortunately, my excitement was subdued when in May 2015 I was told by the NFL that I had failed a drug test. While my doctor had told me that the residual amounts of the testosterone would be out of my system about eight weeks after treatment, that was not accurate, and I failed a drug test a full six months after I had received the prescribed treatment.

Since being notified of my failed test, I attempted to secure a Therapeutic Use Exception (“TUE”) from the NFL, but was it was denied because the NFL only permits exogenous testosterone treatment in extreme medical situations. I consulted with my union after the positive test and learned that even in these circumstances, the NFL imposes discipline because having the intention to cheat or break the rules is not required for a violation of NFL’s PES policy (or any workplace drug policy). It is very difficult for me to accept that a suspension is imposed by the NFL after I followed treatment prescribed by a medical professional during a time when I was not employed by an NFL team. In my view, this situation carries the weight of an unforgiving label, ‘cheater,’ which I am not. I live with integrity, on and off the field, and I want people to understand the factual circumstances of my suspension, so that they, and the NFL, understand that I never sought a competitive advantage. Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, and the Dallas Cowboys organization for their continued support.