Willie Snead Suspended 3 Games for Substance Abuse Violation

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Willie Snead #83 of the New Orleans Saints runs after a catch during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C.  Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NFL suspended New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead for the first three games of the 2017 season on Friday, according to ESPN.com's Field Yates.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added the ban was reduced from four games to three on appeal after Snead violated the league's policy on substances of abuse. 

According to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, Snead's suspension stemmed from a DUI during the offseason. 

Snead released a statement on the incident:

Willie Snead IV @Willie_Snead4G


Snead has never been one to produce big games, but he's steadily emerged as an invaluable component of the Saints' passing attack. 

Last year, Snead caught a career-high 72 passes for 895 yards and four touchdowns. He also finished third among all Saints receivers behind Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks by racking up 104 targets in 15 games. 

With Cooks now a member of the New England Patriots and Snead temporarily watching from afar, quarterback Drew Brees will need to redistribute a hefty number of targets over the next three weeks. 

Ted Ginn Jr. should operate as the team's go-to burner opposite Thomas, while Brandon Coleman and tight end Coby Fleener both figure to be in line for bigger roles against the Minnesota Vikings, Patriots and Carolina Panthers.