New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata, who had 6.5 sacks over the past two seasons, is being suspended one game for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, a league official told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Friday.
Onyemata was issued a misdemeanor summons for marijuana possession in February. According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, Onyemata's apartment in River Ridge, Louisiana, was searched after a narcotics agent received a reliable tip that a quantity of marijuana products was going to be there.
Onyemata was found in possession of marijuana, THC oil, edibles and hemp powder. However, the amount was below the threshold for a more serious offense, and there was no indication that the items were for anything other than personal use.
Onyemata was given the summons for a future court appearance rather than being taken into custody.
Although NFL players are not suspended the first time they test positive for marijuana, they can be suspended for illegal activities that include possession of marijuana.
Onyemata, 26, has been a rising player in the Saints' defense in recent years after being drafted in the fourth round in 2016 out of the University of Manitoba in Canada. He is technically a backup, but he played about 60% of New Orleans' defensive snaps this past season at both tackle positions, with 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Onyemata's development was a big reason the Saints finished second in the NFL in run defense. And his role should be even bigger in 2019, since New Orleans' top defensive tackle, Sheldon Rankins, is likely to miss the start of the season while recovering from a torn Achilles.
The Saints signed veteran defensive tackles Malcom Brown and Mario Edwards Jr. in free agency to add depth to the position and should lean on them in the season opener against the Houston Texans on Monday, Sept. 9.
ESPN's Mike Triplett contributed to this report.