The New Orleans Saints will miss starting defensive tackle David Onyemata to open the season.
Onyemata released a statement Friday on Instagram relaying that he's facing an NFL suspension and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport later reported Onyemata's suspension will be for six games for violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.
"I was informed by the NFLPA yesterday that I have tested positive for a banned substance resulting in a suspension for part of the 2021 NFL season," Onyemata wrote, via Katherine Terrell of The Athletic. "While I was certainly surprised and disappointed with this news, I am responsible for what I put in my body. As I have never knowingly taken anything that could cause a positive test, we are currently in the process of testing the supplements I was taking at the time of the test. Regardless, I am committed to being more aware of any medication and dietary supplements that may contain substances banned by the NFL."
The 28-year-old defensive tackle is one of the Saints' key defenders. He's started 30 games the past two seasons as the club's DT. In his five-year career in New Orleans, Onyemata has compiled 16 sacks while gobbling up 167 tackles.
One of the top interior defenders in the NFL, Onyemata can penetrate, crumple pockets and take on double teams. His 46 QB pressures last season ranked 13th among all defensive interior players, per Pro Football Focus.
With former fellow starting DT Sheldon Rankins now in New York, the Saints, who will lean on a stalwart defense as they break in a new QB, are sure to miss Onyemata for however long his suspension lasts to open the 2021 campaign.