FRISCO, Texas – Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program on substances of abuse, the league announced Friday.
Gathers is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to return to the Cowboys' active roster Monday, Sept. 9, following the team's season opener against the Giants.
Last September, hours before the Cowboys made their final roster cuts, news broke that Gathers had been arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in the Frisco area. He ultimately made the team and appeared in 15 games last season, catching 3 passes for 45 yards as primarily a blocker in the Cowboys' tight end rotation.
Now entering his fourth year with the team, the 2016 sixth-round draft pick will compete once again for a roster spot in training camp. The Cowboys kept four tight ends on the 53-man roster last year, including returning contributors Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. But the tight end depth chart is a bit more crowded this year with veteran Jason Witten back from a one-year retirement.