July 16 (UPI) -- New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata on Friday was suspended for the first six games of the 2021 regular season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Onyemata will still be able to take part in all preseason games and practices. He will be eligible to return to the team's active roster Oct. 26, after the Saints' Week 7 road matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
Earlier Friday, Onyemata announced on social media that he was getting suspended after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
The 28-year-old Onyemata also was given a one-game suspension to begin the 2019 season after being issued a misdemeanor summons for marijuana possession. It remains unclear whether that previous ban impacted the length of the new suspension.
"I was informed by the [NFL Players Association] yesterday that I have tested positive for a banned substance resulting in a suspension for part of the 2021 NFL season," Onyemata wrote Friday on Instagram. "While I was certainly surprised and disappointed with this news, I am responsible for what I put in my body.
"As I have never knowingly taken anything that could cause a positive test, we are currently in the process of testing the supplements I was taking at the time of the test. Regardless, I am committed to being more aware of any medication and dietary supplements that may contain substances banned by the NFL."
The Saints selected Onyemata in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of the University of Manitoba in Canada. Since entering the league, he has developed into one of the franchise's top defensive players.
Onyemata became a full-time starter in the 2019 campaign and signed a three-year, $27 million extension as a free agent in 2020. He set career highs in total tackles (44), sacks (6.5) and stuffs (six) last season, and he also notched one interception.
In 78 career games with the Saints, Onyemata has notched 167 tackles, 16 sacks, one forced fumble and 11 stuffs.