Bears fullback Shelton suspended for playoffs

Thursday, January 10, 2002

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Daimon Shelton revealed three months ago he would appeal a positive test for a substance banned by the NFL that was contained in an over-the-counter fat burner he took.

After numerous delays, the NFL finally made its ruling and now the Chicago Bears' 258-pound fullback will miss the playoffs. He's been suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

The Bears signed fullback Stanley Pritchett in mid-October figuring they might lose Shelton for a month during the regular season.

But the timing of the suspension, announced Tuesday, was a shocker, especially with the Bears getting ready for their first playoff game at Soldier Field on Jan. 19.

"I don't really know why it took so long, but they work in their own ways and make their decisions based on what they think is the best information," Bears coach Dick Jauron said Wednesday.

"I feel bad for Daimon. He's worked very hard all year and of course I feel bad for us too. But we'll deal with it."

Signed as a free agent in May, Shelton had 12 receptions for 76 yards and one touchdown this season, even though he had no carries. He caught one pass for seven yards in Sunday's 33-13 win over Jacksonville, where he played for the previous four years. He was the Jaguars' starting fullback for the past three seasons.

His four-game suspension covers the playoffs and 2002 regular season. So if the Bears lose their playoff opener, Shelton also would sit out the first three games of next season.

Bears quarterback Jim Miller was suspended for the final four games in 1999 for violating the policy.

"He came up to me when he found out and got his letter. Who better to talk to? I've been through it and it's not fun," Miller said.

"He doesn't get a lot of attention, but he's been a big part of success. He's got the big body and puts out punishing blocks. We all feel sorry for him."

Offensive tackle James "Big Cat" Williams also was puzzled by the timing.

"I don't understand. You postpone and postpone, and then all of a sudden the playoffs roll around and now you want to enforce it," Williams said.

"It seems stupid, it seems odd. We'll miss him. The show must go on. Stanley will step up."

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