Denver Broncos head coach John Fox insists he has faith in his team's wide receivers following Wes Welker's four-game ban.
The Broncos announced on Tuesday that receiver Welker had been suspended for the first four fixtures of the new season for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances.
Welker, who reportedly tested positive for amphetamines, is said to have appealed two weeks ago, but the 33-year-old was informed that his plea had been unsuccessful on Tuesday.
In an email released to The Denver Post, Welker said: "I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would never knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way.
"Anyone who has ever played a down with me, lifted a weight with me, even eaten a meal with me, knows that I focus purely on what I put in my body and on the hard work I put in year round to perform at the highest levels year-in and year-out."
A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time NFL receiving yards leader, Welker posted 778 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season with the Broncos in 2013 after leaving the New England Patriots, helping Denver reach the Super Bowl, where they were hammered 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks.
Despite the sanction, Fox expects his remaining core of receivers to impress in Welker's absence.
"Tonight's [Tuesday] news regarding Wes is very disappointing for our team, but we understand the league's authority in this area," Fox said.
"While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the year, I have full confidence in our wide receivers and expect that group to continue playing at a high level.
"I have no doubt that Wes will remain focused on his preparations for the season and stay in excellent shape during his time away from the team."
Welker is the second Bronco to receive a four-game ban to start the campaign after kicker Matt Prater was handed the same punishment for violating the league's substance abuse policy.