NFL suspends 6 players

Published 2:43 am Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Six players, including the heart of the Minnesota Vikings’ stout defensive line, were suspended for four games without pay by the NFL on Tuesday for violating the league’s anti-doping policy.

All six were punished for using a diuretic, which can serve as a masking agent for steroids.

The suspended players were running back Deuce McAllister and defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith of New Orleans; defensive linemen Kevin and Pat Williams of Minnesota; and long snapper Bryan Pittman of Houston.

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‘‘I definitely was not trying to cheat in any form,’’ McAllister told The Associated Press in a phone interview. ‘‘I tried to do everything the right way.’’

The punishment means all six will miss the end of the regular season, an especially harsh blow to Minnesota, which relies heavily on the Williamses in its run defense, which ranks second in the league.