Patriots tight end Lance Kendricks has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the league announced Saturday afternoon.
Kendricks, who signed with the Patriots in July, will miss New England’s opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 8 at Gillette Stadium. He is still eligible to participate in the team’s remaining preseason practices as well as the preseason finale against the New York Giants Thursday night.
Following his suspension, Kendricks can return to the Patriots’ roster on Sept. 9.
In July, Kendricks was sentenced to six months of probation for misdemeanor marijuana possession at a traffic stop. The 31-year-old pleaded no contest to the charge, which will be dropped if he completes eight hours of community service.
To start the season, the Patriots will also be without tight end Benjamin Watson, who was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy. Without the return of Rob Gronkowski, their depth chart at the position is as follows: Watson, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Kendricks, Eric Saubert, Ryan Izzo, and Andrew Beck.