Rams RB Isaiah Pead suspended for season opener

USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams lost another player for a portion of the 2013 season to a league suspension.

St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead is going to be out for the first week of the 2013. Pead is suspended without pay for the season opener on Sep. 9 against the Arizona Cardinals for violating the league's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

The details of Pead's suspension are unknown, and they probably will stay that way. He is eligible to return to the active roster the day after the Rams' Week 1 game. He will also be allowed to workout with the team in training camp. Worth noting, this is NOT a PED suspension.

As far as things keeping players off the field go, a one-game suspension is relatively minor. However, it comes as a big blow to a player who has a lot of ground to make up after a disappointing rookie season. Pead got behind the learning curve last year because the league's rules preventing players from attending spring practices until their school holds its graduation. That helped give fellow rookie Daryl Richardson a window to claim the No. 2 running back role behind Steven Jackson.

With Jackson gone now, Pead was expected to get every opportunity to take assume a bigger role in the offense, bigger than the 10 carries he had in 2012. The Rams drafted Zac Stacy this year, but Pead was still the favorite to work the second half, possibly even the bigger half, of a time share.

The Cincinnati product will at least get to practice and work with the team. Still, any amount of lost snaps for a player trying to cement his place on the roster are costly. Once again, the door is open for Richardson, Stacy or someone else to usurp Pead's place in the rotation.

For the Rams, Pead's suspension is the second suspension of the offseason and the second for a member of the 2012 draft class. Guard Rok Watkins will be joining Pead in civies for the season opener for violating the same policy. Fellow 2012 draftees Janoris Jenkins and Chris Givens were benched by the team for a game last year because of a curfew violation.

Head coach Jeff Fisher disagreed with Watkins' suspension, albeit in a very diplomatic fashion. I wonder if he'll feel the same way about Pead's.

Early returns on the Rams 2012 draft class were positive, particularly for their willingness to take risks on players with some off-field concerns. Fisher and GM Les Snead did that again this year with first-round pick Alec Ogletree who got a DUI a week before the Combine. He was also suspended at Georgia for failed drug tests.

Fair or not, Pead's suspension is bound to raise questions about the team's willingness to take chances on players as well as how they work with those players off the field.

UPDATE: 5:26 PM CST from Brandon Birkhead

According to Howard Balzer, the Rams will now have to pay a fine for having two players suspended in one season. The fine is over eight thousand dollars, which isn't a huge fine considering Stan Kroenke uses twenty grand per night to shower in.

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