EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Troubled Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith has been suspended by the NFL for the 2005 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
The announcement had been expected for several weeks, ever since Vikings head coach Mike Tice suspended Smith indefinitely following an embarrassing run-in at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport April 21, when Smith was stopped after his bag set off a screening device. A search found several vials of dried urine and ''The Original Whizzinator," which is marketed as a way to beat drug tests.
Smith told police the gear was for his cousin. He wasn't charged, and the NFL has said possession of the device isn't enough to violate league drug policies.
The NFL's statement did not give a specific reason for Smith's suspension.
''Our thoughts and prayers are with Onterrio that he can shake some of these problems and be with us next year," offensive coordinator Steve Loney said. Smith's attorney, David Cornwell, did not immediately return a telephone call.