With Victor's suspension, the Huskies will be without one of their top defenders for Friday's opener.
Washington senior linebacker Azeem Victor and sophomore defensive back Austin Joyner have been suspended for Friday’s season opener at Rutgers, UW coach Chris Petersen announced Monday.
Petersen did not specify a reason for their suspensions beyond saying they violated team rules. Multiple sources close to UW said the suspensions were a result of the players failing a drug test.
Victor, named earlier this month a preseason Associated Press All-American, will miss one game, Petersen said. Joyner, a Marysville-Pilchuck graduate, will serve a two-game suspension, meaning he will also miss UW’s Sept. 9 home opener against Montana.
They will not travel with the team to New York/New Jersey this week.
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Petersen was asked how disappointed he was in Victor, a senior entering his third season as the starting middle linebacker.
“Guys make mistakes, nobody’s perfect. It’s a mistake,” Petersen said. The hard thing is, you’re in a public eye and it’s tough. Azeem’s a good guy. He is. Guys make mistakes and we have team standards and we live by them.”
Victor broke his leg during a game against USC last November and missed the final month of the season. A potential high NFL draft pick, he opted to return to UW for his senior season after his injury.
Victor’s absence is another blow at middle linebacker for the Huskies. Earlier this month, sophomore DJ Beavers sustained a foot injury in practice. He’s expected to miss at least the first month of the season.
Beavers had started the final four games of the 2016 season at middle linebacker after Victor was lost to the broken leg.
With Victor and Beavers out, the Huskies could turn to sophomore Brandon Wellington or redshirt freshman Camilo Eifler to make their first start at middle linebacker. Another option could be to play weakside linebackers Ben Burr-Kirven or Sean Constantine in the middle.
Meanwhile, senior tight end David Ajamu will miss the entire season after breaking a leg in practice about two weeks ago, Petersen said.