The Tennessee Titans could be without the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL for the first four games of the 2019 campaign.
Taylor Lewan himself announced in an emotional video that he's facing a four-game suspension after failing a drug test for a banned substance. Lewan says he didn't knowingly take the prohibited supplement.
"My name's Taylor Lewan, I'm the left tackle for the Tennessee Titans. And I'm making this video so it comes from me and from nobody else and it doesn't leave anything up for interpretation," Lewan said. "I received a letter from the NFL a few weeks ago saying that I failed a drug test for Ostarine. Ostarine is a supplement banned from WADA (world anti-doping agency) in 2007. It's known as a SARM (selective androgen receptor modulators). The way the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) works is a strict liability policy. So I'm completely responsible for the things that are in my body whether the supplement I'm taking has it on the label or not.
"I want everyone to know that I've never taken supplement knowingly and I've never cheated the game and I never will. I have notes, those things don't really matter [puts down phone]. What really is important to me is that people know I'm not a cheater. I went and did a polygraph test about Ostarine and knowingly taking it and I passed that test. I've never taken anything that would cheat the game. I'm so sorry to the Tennessee Titans ... [gets emotional] ... This is hard. I'm sorry to the Titans and the fans that I won't be there for four games. I've never cheated myself and I never wanted you guys to feel cheated. And I'm sorry, but I'm gonna be better for this. I'm gonna come back. I got my supplements tested by a third party. I'm going to release that polygraph. There's also been letters on the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Clemson and other NFL players that have failed for Ostarine as well that I'll make public. I'll do whatever I can to prove that I've never done anything wrong in regards to supplements or taking anything knowingly. Thank you so much for watching this video and thank you to everyone who supports me."
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport broke down the situation Lewan is facing during Inside Training Camp Live.
"My understanding is this has not yet been made official," Rapoport said. "There's no statement coming from the NFL just yet. They're still in the process of going through the different samples making sure that the first sample matches the second sample. If it does, Lewan is expected to be suspended the four games that he mentioned. Until then he is still in limbo. According to his words, he does in fact expect this suspension to come. A significant blow to the Tennessee Titans."
Potentially losing the 28-year-old for four games underscores the importance of right tackle Jack Conklin returning to form after a torn ACL last season. The Titans have been bringing Conklin along slowly this offseason. With Lewan out four games, Dennis Kelly will need to fill in on the left side. The good news is that Kelly is a solid stand-in but will no longer be insurance if Conklin has a hiccup in his return.
The good news is that when Lewan returns, Tennessee should have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL if everyone is healthy after the offseason addition of guard Rodger Saffold. Unfortunately, it looks like they'll have to wait until Week 5 to see if the crew is as good on the field as it is on paper.