Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams has been suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, according to an NFL spokesperson.


“Today, Trent Williams was suspended by the NFL under the terms of the Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse for the next four games,” the Redskins said in a statement. “We met with Trent today to discuss this unfortunate news. Per the terms of the Policy, Trent will be permitted to participate in team meetings and workout at the Redskins‘ facilities throughout this time. The Redskins are counting on Trent to help our team when he returns from suspension. Our focus will now turn to the Minnesota Vikings after our bye this upcoming weekend. Any questions related to this matter should be directed to the NFL or NFLPA.”

Williams’ suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the field on Dec. 5 after Washington’s game against Arizona. Per the terms of the policy, Williams will be allowed to attend meetings and work out at the facility.

Williams’ forced departure is a significant blow to the Redskins‘ offense. The 28-year-old left tackle is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the anchor of an offensive line that protects quarterback Kirk Cousins, who ranks 10th in average time to throw at 2.75 seconds, per Next Gen Stats. A dropoff in the 14th-ranked rushing attack could be expected for Washington as well in the absence of Williams, though we’re left to see in the weeks ahead.

Second-year pro Ty Nsekhe is listed next on the Redskins‘ depth chart, and with the trade deadline having passed, seems to be their best option to replace Williams for the next month. Nsekhe has spent time with the Colts, Rams and Saints before joining the Redskins in February 2015.

Williams signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension with Washington on Aug. 31, 2015, and also makes the highest average annual salary among offensive linemen in the NFL at $13.2 million, according to OverTheCap.com.

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