Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

22 Sep 2010

Bucs Safety Tanard Jackson Suspended for Year

Hey, you know how the Tampa Bay Bucs are a surprising third overall in our ratings so far this season? Well, it's going to be tough to stay there with harder opposition coming up... not to mention that they'll now be without their starting free safety for the rest of the year. Not for an injury, that we would understand. No, it is because he's an idiot. Tanard Jackson just got dinged for his third time breaking the league's substance abuse policy. Not PEDs, folks. Recreational drugs or alcohol. He's suspended for 16 games, so the rest of this year and then the first two games of 2011.

Better yet, this could mean the return of Sabby Piscitelli to the Bucs starting lineup. Rejoice, Tampa fans. By which I actually mean, "do not rejoice."

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 22 Sep 2010

43 comments, Last at 27 Sep 2010, 8:34am by kamchatka


by Dales :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:40pm

Isn't the length consistent with a third positive?

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:43pm

Whoops, yes, I fixed that above. It is his second time getting caught under "Stage 2," which means a suspension, but that does mean three times total.

by Sander :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:54pm


Just when the team looks like it's turning things around, this happens.

I'm not sure if Sabby would return to the lineup, though. Sean Jones can move to FS, and the team likes Corey Lynch and rookie Cody Grimm a lot. I think (or at least hope) either of those will get the nod over Sabbt.

If all that fails, I hope Sabby learned something from last year's debacle.


We're doomed.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 3:28am

Is "We're doomed." your thoughts, or your sig?

by Sander :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 5:34am

My thoughts.

Though as a Bucs fan it may as well be my sig.

by Basilicus :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 10:14pm

Not that I was expecting them to be any higher than third in the division, or any lower than third in the division...wait a minute, this changes nothing!

by Yo (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 10:56pm

Do they dare bring in Ken Hamlin, freshly released from the Ravens?

by BobbyRoberto :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:10pm

So, if marijuana is legalized for recreational purposes in California, would that exempt NFL players on California-based teams from being busted for smoking pot?

by tuluse :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:38pm

Nope. It's not about legality, it's about the NFL saying they don't want their players smoking pot. They don't even have to test for it.

by Briguy :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:42pm

Just because something is legal doesn't mean a private company has to allow employees to do it. Besides, NFL players know they'll be going out of state often. If they have marijuana in their system when they do (and it takes months for the last dregs to get flushed out), they would still be violating the law and the policy, even if the NFL doesn't test for it in the state of California.

by Joe M. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 1:03pm

While the first part of your comment is accurate, the second part is not. A failed marijuana test is not enough to be in violation of the law, generally; they have to prove you POSSESSED it, and a blood or urine test is not sufficient.

But it's irrelevant, as NFL policy is NFL policy and not related to the laws (except insomuch as NFL drug testing policy may or may not be against the law in some states, ie Minnesota). Anybody see a bunch of states suddenly passing MIN-like drug testing laws in order to help their teams? :)

by tuluse :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 5:05pm

The testing policy wasn't against the law, it was the suspension policy. You can't be punished for one failed drug test in Minnesota. At least that's how I understood it.

by morganja :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 1:10pm

This also clearly applies to testosterone which is illegal to have in your system either. I doubt any NFL athletes have testosterone in their system.

by kamchatka (not verified) :: Mon, 09/27/2010 - 8:18am

Certainly not on the Bucs, anyway.

by PTORaven :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:01am

The NFL conduct policy isn't based on state or federal laws, so no. Otherwise Ricky Williams would live in Amsterdam during the offseason (or Roethlisberger would move to Thailand).

by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 3:48am

Harsh, but funny.

by speedegg :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:03am

Current CA law states a marijuana prescription is required from a certified doctor for a medical condition. Chemotherapy side effects and glaucoma would qualify, of which I doubt he has. So he's still breaking state law.

Even if he had a prescription, it's still illegal under federal law. Federal law trumps California state law, so he could still face charges. Federal authorities would have to take the time, effort, and money to prosecute. Because of that there would have to be an overriding reason to prosecute (endangering others, etc) and so he could (just) get off with a suspension.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 3:30am

Chronic pain is the most common reason a doctor issues a marijuana perscription (at least here in Colorado). Every NFL player has "chronic pain."

by RickD :: Fri, 09/24/2010 - 3:32am

Chronic pain is a bit more serious than that.

The run-of-the-mill pain that professional athletes have doesn't compare to the level of pain cancer patients have, or that people with spinal injuries have, etc.

by tuluse :: Fri, 09/24/2010 - 3:43am

Well just ask Kevin Everett about that.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 09/24/2010 - 5:38am

You're missing my point: the run-of-the-mill chronic pain that *I* have is sufficient to get an MMJ license in Colorado. A football player would have no problem getting one if he wanted to.

by Alex51 :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:53pm

Wait, NFL players can get suspended simply for drinking alcohol? I'm assuming this only applies to those players who are...recovering alcoholics? Players who have been convicted of an alcohol related crime? Under 21?

What are the conditions that make drinking alcohol a suspendable offense for NFL players?

by Johnny Bravo (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:54pm

With this suspension, will he be able to burn freely for the next year, or will he still be tested periodically?

by BucNasty :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:02am

He was suspended for the first four games last season for the same thing. Apparently, getting high is more important to him than making millions of dollars. And this season was going so well...

by qsi :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:32am

What a letdown. What a moron. After last year's suspension you'd think he would have learned... and it has to be demoralizing following a nice 2-0 start (admittedly against weak opponents, but still).

Apart from hurting the team, he's also going lose a year of playing time, so won't become a free agent this year and will have his contract run next season instead. And he'll be heavily damaged goods.

by tuluse :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 1:05am

I'm pretty sure he doesn't get paid any more either.

by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 3:51am

Sad to say, he sounds like a cautionary tale in the making- a negative pattern of behaviour he was cautioned for and didn't change, a lot less money and a LOT more unstructured free time in his life.

Hope it doesn't go the way we would all suspect.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 10:28am

I actually uttered the word "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" seeing the headline.

What a moron. Seriously, you know you're one step away from a season-long sit-down, and you still do it?

I honestly didn't expect the season to go well or anything, but I just cannot stand the idea of Sabby Piscatelli getting regular playing time again. He causes me actual pain every time I see him. Now it's time for Aqib Talib to do something stupid again, and the circle will be complete.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 11:26am

Compare this to the NBA, where Brandon Rush recently failed a 3rd test and got suspended for 5 games... out of 82. And you know what happens if he fails a 4th? 10 games.

Now, I'm not saying one way or the other is better, but it's clear that one of these unions is much better than the other at fighting for its right to party.

by Keasley (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 11:37am

Curious about the marijuana discussion. Is it known that this, or previous, suspensions are marijuana related? I'd think the vast majority of drug suspensions, especially long ones, would be for cocaine or painkillers since they are both much more addictive and more difficult to stop than pot.

by BucNasty :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 3:41pm

I was thinking the same thing. The substance has never been revealed, which leads me to believe it's cocaine or painkillers. You'd think it would be in his interest to mention that it was weed if that was the case, as I think the general public is far more sympathetic to that than something more hardcore.

by Sander :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 6:07pm

Well if it's something harder he can play the 'addicted' angle and get sympathy again.

by kamchatka (not verified) :: Mon, 09/27/2010 - 8:34am


by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 12:33pm

Jackson fell in the draft due to 'character concerns'. The Bucs looked like they got a steal but many teams saw this coming and avoided him. He's too stupid to play in the NFL at the moment but it's his non-football IQ that's stopping him.

by johonny (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 1:03pm

I seriously do not care if players take recreational drugs or not. Now I can understand the team caring if it hurts his performance. Given he just made the team out of camp, I'm guessing it hasn't. Currently dog murderer Vick was begged by the media into the Eagles starting job, so I think it's safe to assume fans give not a crap for these events either as long as the dude can play. Sure it's negative PR, but the fact is this negative PR doesn't affect NFL's bottom line. And more to the point the policy creates far more negative PR than not having the policy would. Would you even know who this guy was without the NFL declaring this suspension? Nope. The NFL just created a negative PR event out of nothing. So why is this policy in place?

by TomC :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 4:23pm

And more to the point the policy creates far more negative PR than not having the policy would.

I wish you were right about this, but I don't think you are. All it takes is some politician or self-appointed "moral leader" to start screaming about how the NFL allows its players to take illegal drugs with no sanction, and you can get a PR nightmare in a hurry. I certainly don't give a shit if NFL players toke up, but I don't believe I'm in the majority, at least in this country.

by tuluse :: Fri, 09/24/2010 - 1:37pm

They could have the same suspension policy if anyone got caught, but simply not test them for it. They could even simply not tell anyone they were no longer testing.

by Led :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 6:29pm

Agreed. It's crazy for the NFL to test for marijuana. There's really no upside in it for the NFL. I can see coke or other drugs that are a serious health hazard to the athlete and can be detrimental to performance. But weed? Ridiculous.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 09/24/2010 - 5:40am

Maybe weed gives players an unfair advantage in the film room!

by Sander :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 2:23pm

So the team's saying Cody Grimm, seventh round rookie, will start over Sabby Piscitelli against the Steelers.

by big_jgke :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 2:46pm

Is there any chance Sabby Piscatelli can get the nickname 'Black Sabbath'? Because that would be awesome.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 5:15pm

Probably not, but I'd be all for his being sacrificed on an altar.

by CornerBlitz :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 10:05pm

No, Tampa simply can't abide another year with Sabby P in the starting line up. I've already been disillusioned by the atrocious angles the safeties have taken in the first two games that led to big plays for opposing offenses. Piscitelli is worse; we have to go shopping. And though I really like T-Jack, apparently he doesn't get it and needs to be cut.