Patriots TE Lance Kendricks suspended one game

New England's misfortune at the tight end position continued on Saturday.

Patriots tight end Lance Kendricks was suspended for the first game of the 2019 season for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse, the NFL announced.

Kendricks received probation in July from a marijuana charge for which he pleaded no contest.

The 31-year-old veteran signed a one-year deal with New England in July to join a tight end room trying to fill the void of the retired Rob Gronkowski. But the Patriots have been set back by suspensions and roster nonsense at the position.

Benjamin Watson is banned for the first quarter of the season. New England's trade for Michael Roberts was voided. The Pats signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the offseason only to cut him, as he deals with off-the-field issues. New England also traded away Jacob Hollister and traded for Eric Saubert.

With Kendricks out for the Pats' opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England will enter the season with Saubert, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Andrew Beck and Ryan Izzo as potential tight end options. Quite a dropoff from the days of Gronkowski.

"Well, Lance is an experienced player," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Kendricks earlier this week. "He's been in this offensive system with (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) and with the Rams. It's not the same, but it's similar. He certainly has a good background on it, and he picks things up quickly and has quite a bit of experience in the league anyway. So, he's done well, and it was good to get him back out there last week. Good to see him have a chance to play against Tennessee, and we'll build on that going forward this week."

Kendricks is free to return to the active roster on Sept. 9 following the season opener. That's if he makes the roster. Kendricks is considered a potential cut candidate, according to NFL Network's Mike Giardi.