After the news broke regarding his violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs Aug. 21, Brandon Copeland remained quiet as he served his four-game suspension.
Outside of a lengthy Aug. 22 statement on Instagram, Copeland said his piece and stayed silent while he worked back from the month-long absence.
Labeled by head coach Adam Gase as a starting linebacker for Week 6's game against the Dallas Cowboys (3-2) Sunday at 4:25 p.m. from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Copeland opened up on his road back to the field when he met the media Wednesday after practice.
"I watched a lot of football," Copeland said. "Literally took as much stuff as I could to stay immersed in the game."
In his first season with the Jets after he spent two initial years playing all 32 games for the Detroit Lions, Copeland took the next step and had a career-best campaign.
The 6-foot-3, 263-pounder once again appeared in all 16 games -- with 10 starts -- while recording 35 tackles (eight for loss), 14 quarterback hits and two pass breakups.
Then a complicated situation unfolded, stemming from an April 15 failed drug test, over a banned substance that Copeland has maintained he did not knowingly take -- the linebacker is set to file a lawsuit in New Jersey against the selling company -- after doing his due diligence on the supplement.
"Very frustrating, very frustrating," Copeland said. "I think one of the things that you wonder in something like this is, 'What else can I do?' Or, 'What else should I do?' Right? Like, 'What else would you advise me to do next time to change the outcome?' ... People hear (the suspension news) and all you see on ESPN is, 'Banned for four games, PED use,' so you just assume one thing. But again, what else would you tell me to do differently?"
Throughout the past month's absense, Copeland enjoyed time with family and stayed in shape, but he continued to be disappointed with the way the penalty ultimately painted him publicly.
"I started (to) try to take a recovery supplement -- simple recovery supplement, just like anything else," Copeland said in an opening statement. "Before taking it, I sent it to multiple nutritionists and got verified that everything on the label was OK. Even tried checking it through the NFL app and all that type of stuff. However, this supplement in particular was contaminated -- who knows how it got contaminated. However, once I got the letter saying that I had failed the drug test on April 15, I literally took all the supplements I was taking, sent them off to a third-party science laboratory -- cost literally $745 per supplement (to get tested). So a lot of people ask, 'Why don't you always just test your stuff?' Well, you pay 30, 40 bucks for a supplement and then you've got to pay $745 for a laboratory test that takes them multiple weeks to do it. It confirmed that one of the supplements had the banned substance in it. Unfortunately, (with) the NFL, you're responsible for what's in your body.
"Again, people who me, people who understand me -- if you know and understand my story, it really doesn't make sense. It was a huge blow to me personally, on the field and off the field. It didn't affect any games, sadly. I have copies of all my drug tests -- all negative -- literally until (Dec. 31) of last season. And then I've taken three drug tests since my April 15 failed drug test -- all negative. So again, it's unfortunate -- however, I understand that everything happens for a reason. I understand that God doesn't make mistakes. And you build from it, you learn from it. Again, it was a blow to me. I'm not going to sit up here and act like I'm not pissed off about it. Again, I'm currently going after the company. The day after I was announced (as) suspended, the company put on their website that they're changing their manufacturing company -- so to better hold consistency with their quality assurance and stuff like that. However, again, I know I'm responsible for what's in my body.
"So with that being said, again, I don't hold my head down or anything like that. Again, I know the person that I am, my family knows the person that I am, people who know me know the person that I am. And again, I've had -- if anyone knows my journey and my story, it really doesn't make sense for me to try to cheat the game or myself, coming off the best season of my life, on the field, off the field, baby boy born. All that type of stuff. It just doesn't make sense. So with that, I'm willing tio answer as many questions as I can. Again, we are currently going after the company, legally, so there's certain things I can't answer, can't say. The supplement name, I can't say, the name of the company right now. Trust me, I wish I could. Promise you, I wish I could. I've been battling back and forth with my lawyer, who's been there advising me to take the high road, so to speak, for right now."