NFL Rumors: Raiders’ All-Pro Marcel Reece Suspended Four Games, Bills Claim WR Leonard Hankerson

The NFL has suspended Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece four games for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs according to Fred Yates of ESPN.

With the Raiders (7-8) out of the playoff picture, Reece will miss the season finale at Kansas City and then the first three games in 2016. In the NFL’s statement, it says that Reece is no longer eligible to participate in this year’s Pro Bowl though it is unknown whether he will forfeit the $100,000 bonus that he was due for being selected for the fourth straight year.

The 30-year-old will be able to participate in all off-season and preseason practices and games next year. Reece is expected to be back with the Raiders wherever the team may play, as he is under contract with the club at a cap number of $3.53 million.

Reece is a skilled blocker with good hands out the backfield, he caught 30 passes this year for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Reece also compiled 10 carries for 36 yards.

Jamize Olawale is expected to start in place of Reece. The 26-year-old is three years younger than Reece and is rated by Pro Football Focus as the ninth best fullback this year, which is only three spots behind Reece.

Olawale has more carries than Reece does this year, but not as many targets out of backfield. The third-year back has racked up 110 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries (4.6 yards per carry). He also has eight receptions for additional 60-yards.

Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio told Bill Williamson of ESPN that it is unlikely that starting safety Nate Allen will be able to play against the Chiefs. Allen re-injured his right knee December 6 against Kansas City. It was his fourth game back after injuring his MCL in Week 1. Allen went on the injured reserve-designation for return list for two months.

In other NFL news, Yates reported that the Buffalo Bills (7-8) have picked up veteran wide receiver Leonard Hankerson off waivers from the New England Patriots. The Buffalo News reported that the Bills placed wide receiver Marcus Easley on injured reserve after he suffered a major knee injury in Buffalo’s win over Dallas on Sunday to make room for Hankerson.

Hankerson, a 2011 former third round selection of the Washington Redskins, is in his fifth NFL season. Hankerson spent four years with the Redskins before moving on to Atlanta this offseason. The 26-year-old put up decent numbers in eight games with the Falcons – 26 receptions, 327 yards and three touchdowns — but a hamstring injury eventually landed him on injured reserve.

Leonard Hankerson (photo by Kevin C. Cox)

After negotiating an injury settlement with Atlanta, Hankerson signed with the New England Patriots. He played 10 snaps in a Week 15 game against Tennessee, but did not make any catches. Overall, Hankerson has 107 catches for 1,408 yards and nine touchdowns in his career.

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that it is likely Charger safety Eric Weddle will not return to San Diego next season. San Diego fined Weddle, who has been placed on injured reserve, $10,000 for remaining on the field during halftime to watch his daughter perform during a dance ceremony. The 30-year old is in the final year of his contract.

Eric Weddle (photo by Jaime Squires).

The Indianapolis Colts placed third-string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and guard Hugh Thornton on injured reserve. With backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (shoulder) unlikely to play this upcoming week that leaves Andrew Luck (kidney) and Stephen Morris as the only quarterbacks left on the Colts roster. Luck hasn’t played since Week 9 and hasn’t been cleared to play while Morris signed with the team just last week. Indianapolis is reportedly working out free agent quarterback Josh Freeman.

The Cleveland Browns made a couple roster moves as they cut running back Daryl Richardson and promoted linebacker Cam Johnson from the practice squad. The Browns also waived defensive back De’Ante Saunders from the practice squad.

[AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez]