The NFL announced that Jets linebacker Calvin Pace will miss the first four games of the 2009 season while he serves a suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Pace said the positive test was caused by a supplement.
"This is a situation that resulted from an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained a substance that I did not know violated the League's policy," he said in a statement. "I am responsible for what I put into my body and I should have paid closer attention to the League's guidelines. I regret that this has happened and apologize to my teammates, the entire Jets organization as well as the fans. Hopefully, this does not distract from our ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl."
It will certainly distract from Rex Ryan's goal of putting together a more imposing defense than the Jets sported last season. Pace will still be able to practice and play in preseason games, but the first month of the regular season will be a key time for the Jets defense to gel under Ryan's tutelage.
The nominal replacement for Pace, the team's best pass rusher in 2008, at outside linebacker would be Vernon Gholston. There are reasons to doubt that the sixth overall pick of the 2008 draft will work out well for the Jets, however. Gholston was invisible as a rookie and barely got on the field, and Adam Schefter of the NFL Network delivered some more bad news via Twitter on Thursday afternoon.
In the first four weeks the Jets have trips to Houston and New Orleans sandwiched around home dates with the Patriots and Titans. If Gholston, or whoever replaces Pace, isn't up to snuff, it could create a pretty deep hole for the Jets right from the starting gun.