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Saints' Willie Snead suspended three games by NFL

The Saints have lost a core member of their passing attack for the start of the 2017 season.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that wideout Willie Snead has been suspended for the first three games of the regular season for violating the NFL's policy on substances of abuse. He was initially banned four games before it was reduced on appeal.

Snead will miss games against the Vikings, Patriots and Panthers. He'll be eligible to return for Week 4's tilt with the Dolphins in London.

The 24-year-old Snead has worked with the first-team attack throughout the preseason after hauling in 141 catches for 1,879 yards and seven scores for the Saints over the past two seasons.

Playing alongside Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn, Snead makes up a trio of pass-catchers that arguably stands as the league's best with Pro Bowler Drew Brees under center. The suspension could serve as a major opportunity for Brandon Coleman.

Luckily for the Saints, they still pack plenty of punch on offense, with weapons in the passing game and a versatile trio of runners -- Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara -- in the backfield.

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