NAPA -- The Raiders will be down an experienced cornerback to start the season.
Nevin Lawson announced on Monday night that he has been suspended the first four games of the 2019 regular season for taking a banned substance.
Lawson said he tested positive for Ostarine, a substance he says he has never knowingly taken. The NFL puts it on players to know exactly what they are ingesting, and doesn't take the possibility of mistaken ingestion into account when levying punishment.
He will be suspended without pay for the first quarter of the season but is allowed to participate in all preseason Raiders activities. That includes the exhibition slate, which starts Saturday night against the L.A. Rams at Oakland Coliseum.
Losing a player with 54 starts to his credit is a blow to the Raiders' cornerback depth. He was considered a third-team cornerback on the team's unofficial depth chart, though that order could've been made with Lawson's suspension in mind.
Gareon Conley and Daryl Worley are set to start at the outside cornerback spots, and their depth can survive Lawson's loss. Trayvon Mullen and Nick Nelson will be the first cornerbacks off the bench on the outside. Lamarcus Joyner is set to play inside.
Lawson signed a one year deal worth up to $3.05 million, with $1.55 million guaranteed, this offseason.
Lawson is the second Raider set to start the season on the suspended list. Richie Incognito was suspended two games for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Here is Lawson's statement in its entirety: