The San Francisco 49ers are expected to sign long snapper Colin Holba later today, according to The Athletic reporter Matt Barrows. Holba was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but was waived after losing the job in training camp. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars late in the 2017 season and was waived in the 2018 offseason. He had signed with the Atlanta Legends of the newly-formed AAFL, but is allowed to leave to play in the NFL.
The news comes following Tuesday’s announcement that veteran long snapper Kyle Nelson has been suspended ten games for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Nelson’s suspension came out of the blue, and is the second he has faced in his NFL career. The NFL suspends players between two and six games for a first violation of the PED policy, and then ten games for a second offense. Nelson’s first suspension came in 2011 after he had been released by the Kansas City Chiefs, per Jennifer Chan.
A player is regularly subject to PED testing so long as he has not formally filed retirement paperwork. If suspended, he can serve that suspension even if he is not on a team. Nelson claims he uses regular supplements and will investigate to figure out which one was tainted. Given that this is his second PED suspension, I find it hard to take that excuse seriously, but maybe he’ll find the bad supplement.
Nelson is in the final year of his contract. He will be suspended the final four games of this season, and then the first six games of next season. A team could sign him and let him sit out the suspension, but my guess is he does not sign and then either returns to the NFL as an injury replacement in 2019, or is out until 2020.