Cornerback Eric Wright was back on the practice field Wednesday afternoon for the first time in over a month. Following practice Wright spoke to the media in open locker room and shared his thoughts on his four-game suspension.
Cornerback Eric Wright has rejoined his teammates after serving a four-game suspension for his use of the banned substance Adderall.
After Wednesday's workout Wright spoke to the media for the first time in over a month and gave some insight on his suspension – and his future.
“Being at home and being away from my teammates and my coaches you know you work all season and all preseason to get to this point and to have to sit out for four games really hurt,” Wright said.
Although Adderall is not allowed in the National Football League, players can get an exemption if they file paperwork to show that it doctor prescribed. When asked if he thought he had gone through the proper procedures to be allowed to use the drug legally in the league, Wright was very direct in his response.
“The exception letter was not filed,” Wright said. “And basically that was the end of the story when it came to that.”
Wright did appeal the suspension, but ended up losing. He did not mention to the media whether or not he thought he had a good case, instead just said that he was happy to be back.
“The situation is that this is over,” Wright said. “I served my four game suspension and I am happy to be back on the team and have an opportunity to play in this game. The situation as a whole is pretty much over with. I am moving forward from that.”
Head coach Greg Schiano spoke about Wright’s situation earlier on Wednesday, saying he hoped it was in the past.
“You never really know,” Schiano said. “Some people can say they do. How do you know? I didn’t know it was coming, so how am I going to know it will happen again or won’t happen again, I don’t. We’ve talked and I feel good about what we’ve talked about and that’s all you really can do. Even before the fact (you have to) educate and continue to educate the team, because I’m not convinced that all these guys that have been positive Adderall tests were using Adderall. Obviously it did because they tested positive but I’m not sure there’s an issue with all of them.
“But that doesn’t matter. The rule is the rule. So we have to make sure that we as an organization just keep educating our players. And you can’t control the choices they make but you can control the amount of information they have to make those choices and that’s really, my whole career, that’s kind of been what I’ve done, whether it was college kids or now, here, with professional people.”
Wright does feel that he let not only his teammates down, but the entire Buccaneer organization as a whole.
“Yes, absolutely,” Wright said. “I apologized to the team as well as the organization and the Glazier family. It hurt me a lot to let the team down. It is just an unfortunate situation and I am looking forward to moving forward from here.”
Wright signed a five-year, $37.5 million free agent deal with the Buccaneers last March, with the first two years of the deal guaranteed. Because of a behavioral clause in his contract, it is thought the Buccaneers could release Wright after the season and not be responsible for the remainder of his salary. No decision has been made – at least publicly – by the Buccaneers.
Wright’s future is still up in the air, and the former Browns and Lions cornerback said he was unsure what the future holds, but plans on remaining in Tampa Bay.
“Until somebody tells me otherwise, I am a Tampa Bay Buccaneer,” Wright said. “I say that with a lot of pride and it is an honor to put on that jersey. I am just going to continue to work with that mindset.”– Victoria Horchak contributed to this report
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