NFL suspends Victor Bolden 4 games for performance-enhancing-drug use

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Victor Bolden (17) before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The 49ers announced Friday afternoon the NFL has suspended 49ers kick returner Victor Bolden Jr. four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing-substances policy. He can return to the active roster on October 1, but is allowed to practice with the team during the offseason and play during the preseason games.

Bolden, 23, was an undrafted rookie last season. He made the 49ers 53-man roster out of training camp, and was the 49ers primary kick returner until he injured his ankle and went on I.R. In nine games, he returned 19 kickoffs for 396 yards, and four punts for 23 yards.

Last month, the 49ers spent their second-round pick on a wide receiver who returns punts and kicks — Dante Pettis. This pick seemed strange and unnecessary at the time, but maybe the Niners knew the league would suspend Bolden. Maybe the Niners knew what they were doing.

This article has 105 Comments

  1. Its too bad however it provides opportunity for someone else. Grant what do you think the NFL is going to do with Foster?

    1. LoL. It’s a huge stretch of credulity that the 49ers know or knew what they’re doing without consulting Grant or his padre.

        1. Yep. They sure seem prescient though when you factor in Taylor’s back injury. Bottom line is the position was riddled by attrition in 2017, and Shanny felt Pettis was worthy of being his highest ever player chosen at the position….

      1. Remember Foster? Innocent until she recants. Getting blackout drunk then claiming to be a virgin makes this a farce.

  2. Wonder how Bolden’s PAC12 numbers compare with those of Pettis. Grant wrote Pettis’s return numbers off as being inflated by playing against weak teams.

  3. He’s not going to make the team because of this, practice squad or otherwise. Theres no way we carry more than 6 receivers on the roster and Garcon, Goodwin, Taylor and Pettis are all locks. That leaves TWO spots available max and Boldin Jr. is an undrafted rookie with a 4 game suspension for taking PED’s competing with Kendrick Bourne, Aldrick Robinson(also not making the team because of cost), Richie James, Max McCaffery, Steven Dunbar and Aaron Burbridge. He’s going to end up being a camp body who the Niners cut ties with after the pre-season. I don’t think he had a chance at making this roster even before the suspension. Now its virtually guaranteed that Lynch gives him the axe. My guess is that Bourne makes the roster as our 5th receiver. If we carry six then that spot will be either James or Dunbar (at 6’2″ he’s our only receiver with size). If not, both those guys make the practice squad which means theres just no room for a low level receiver who has already gotten in trouble, even if he does have some return skills.

    1. Tim

      Good post…I do agree with your assessment….Aldrick Robinson is a ‘plus’ but there are younger, bigger , stronger, faster, waiting their turn to do what you can do for the team…Speed kills… but NOT PED speed….

    2. I agree Tim. Here’s my post from yesterday:

      49reasons. says:
      June 1, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      We’ll see. The way I see it, there’s likely ONE (1) WR slot up for grabs.

      – Garcon
      – Goodwin
      – Bourne
      – Pettis
      – Taylor

      That’s 5, all likely locks unless something unexpected happens (knock on wood).

      Then we have James (2018 – 7th round pick), Robinson – the veteran, Burbridge – who has value on special teams, Dunbar – who’s probably the biggest receiver currently on the roster, McCafferey, and a potential free agent, or waiver claim down the line.


      I think Bolden was likely on the outside looking in, even before this suspension. Bolden brought some value to the table as a kick returner, but I think the 49ers likely have 2 players who are as good, or better kick/punt returners (Pettis, James), and also have higher ceilings at WR, IMO, than Victor Bolden.

      It’s early, but Kendrick Bourne is currently the front runner for Most Improved Offensive Playmaker, just ahead of Matt Breida, and Aaron Burbridge. Both Bourne (6’1″ 203 lbs) and Burbridge (6’1″ 208 lbs) bring some much needed size to the position, although neither of these guys would be considered a big bodied WR per say. Of course, Bolden is the smallest WR on the roster listed at 5’8″, 178 lbs.

  4. Victor, if you are going to use PED’s, for heck’s sake, use some that actually make you a better WR!


  5. He was already facing an uphill battle to make the 53 man roster. Perversely though this may make it easier to stash him on the PS.

    1. Good point. I didn’t see him making the final roster anyway considering they drafted Pettis, but this likely means nobody will claim him so they can put him on the PS if they want to.

  6. He’ll have to be spectacular in pre season to make the team.. I like him as a return guy. Guess we’ll see. I don’t see anyone feeling Trent Taylor is vulnerable. He’s got a bad back, he’s slow, good hands and ability to create separation. But once he has the ball he is an easy tackle and an easy close defensively. He had a good rookie season but there are so many guys bigger faster, stronger than Trent.. Good possession guy but borderline physical talent.. Those other receivers ought to be looking to beat him out.

    1. Don, this will be Taylor’s junior year in Shanny’s system. I expect he will be even better this year, and a 3rd down machine. Having said that, if the back injury lingers all bets are off. Pettis would then have an opportunity to prove he’s the better option….

  7. Prime, nice to see you resurrect the nickname OWU!! I choked on a sip of beer as I read that! Too funny!! Maybe Victor figured he was on the outside looking in and needed some help. Maybe growing a third eye? For the record, I’m the one (not knowing that he was called this at ND) who nicknamed McGlinchey “Mt. McGlinchey”! Check the archives! Just saying! I still think Prime’s “Old Wind Up” is the best ever! Makes me laugh every time!

  8. Grant / Anyone
    Do you know if the NFL has an established, up to date, official list of all banned substances that’s send to teams, or do they use the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List?

        1. He was playing behind Vernon Davis, who was in his prime when the 49ers let him go. They would have liked to keep him but they weren’t going to pay big money for a 2nd string TE who dropped a lot of passes at the time.

  9. Yeah losing him really hurt the offense in my opinion. The offense at that time was based upon on power formations that threatened with the run but thanks to Walker and Davis the team was equally capable of passing in that formation.

      1. Because he’s an all time great that used to play here. He doesn’t seem to like the York’s and I don’t blame him. Honoring TO would give the fans one more chance to cheer him.

          1. He wasn’t the best teammate, but he gave his all on the field, just like Haley. But Charles had mental issues, so did TO.

  10. Seems the team picked up a malcontent in Cassius Marsh who isn’t even that great a talent, if you listen to what he said in a recent interview and what SI is reporting. How is it different from what Bowman did, who has proven he can play, though is much diminished now?

    1. And Marsh was cut two days later. Bowman was older and had multiple injuries. Bowman still doesn’t have a job. Bow is just a run stuffer in a passing league, and he’s not even great at that anymore. Both Bow and Marsh wanted out. Marsh will be gone too if he starts running his mouth.

  11. Meh. Either the 49ers drafted Pettis in the 2nd round because they thought he was a great fit for Shanny’s offense and a great weapon on special teams or they don’t know what they are doing. If the 49ers are spending high round draft capital based on 4 games then they are clueless.

    1. Looks like the new regime’s willing to overspend on players that are ideal system fits. This seems to be the case with both the salary cap and draft capital. If Shanahan sees a clear role for a player he will do whatever it takes to secure him.

      If they eventually play well, it won’t be overspending.

    1. That’s great film breakdown of Jimmy G. Thanks for posting this. I noticed some of JG’s poor footwork last year but I chalked it up to rushing because he was playing behind an awful o-line. I’m wondering if he had these issues in New England or not.

      1. The film analysis did show the footwork issue while he was in a NE uniform. But I do think some of it is attributable to the atrocious Oline. There were a number of clips where he just released the ball as he was being tackled. The analyst even said that the vast majority of QBs could not have gotten those throws off before being sacked. I have no doubt that he can work on and correct the issues. But I wonder if it is a priority at this point in time. It doesn’t seem like Kyle’s offense relies much at all on the deep ball. Nice to have if the opportunity presents itself but not required.

        1. “Yeah, to play in this offense, you’re going to have to be able to push the ball down the field,” quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello said.

              1. I was just wondering if they were working on his footwork given KS’ desire to have Jimmy master the offense. I think it would be a great question for Kyle or Rick. Maybe Grant could bring it up.

      1. “…. Until recently, that weight had been cited as 256 pounds, which caused a stir among the fan base …”

        The only “..stir..”.. it caused was here !
        (and Grant doesn’t pretend to be a fan )…
        I was never interested in the various players weights.. but…
        if someone posted .. (say) … Cassie’s weight .. (for example)
        I’d probably take some notice

          1. Well…. Before radioactive contamination in the late 1940s and early 1950s, I was a svelte 50 tons. Life was easy as a kid–hanging out on various atolls in Micronesia. Then the A bombs, H bombs, and a life in cinema–typecast no less. One could say that radioactivity became my PED. If I could just do something about my T-Rex arms…

  12. LOL…

    Sure glad i wasn’t drinking my morning coffee when I
    read you two …
    (woulda had a big mess to clean up)…

  13. Well the weight talk , when was it taken , before lunch , after class , did we really get into some drills , this mourning , was it 90 or 60 .

    Guys as a player ( college only) I personally have seen my weight go 6-8 lbs in one practice , watched my weight go straight up to normal in a day . An offensive tackle I played with , would lose anywhere from 10 to 16 lbs in what we used to call true two-a-days,( hated hot August ). So yeah there is alot to look at . And compare .

    Now for anything that helps or aids in the building of muscle . That’s not taken from food or drinks , was the definition used .

    Well as a player I concur , no outside drugs on the field . None .
    No exceptions . ( No one person should have that advantage ), of steroids ,or HGH , or anything of the likes .

    Now the real discussion , should they be allowed to use ,other drugs ,pain pills , opioids, pot , alcohol ? While not on the field ? Or during injury ? Should we allow them these ? Knowing of alternative medicine , Chiropractic Care , and acupuncture . Should the NFL , be allowed to dictate what a player does to heal himself , mentally ,or physically ?

    Yes drug use, legal , illegal ,needs to be monitored . Why would we think the NFL is different from the rest of the world ?

    Well that’s my thoughts , would love to hear back from ya , Should they be allowed to heal themselves anyway the see fit ?

      1. Zactly. But I’m so sad. Xlnt dude. I do get that he was spared the Prison of inability to speak and move. God bless, Dwight.

    1. Just heard …Razor ..

      Sad… and difficult to hold back the tears…
      RIP… indeed .. Dwight …

      Would be great if Grant could pen a
      tribute column for one of the greats …. but … nah…
      ain’t gonna happen

      But at least we could all pay tribute and our respects
      for the man …right ?

    2. A part of the Catch died today, but it will live in the hearts of 49er fans for all time, as will the man who was the receiver in that unforgettable play.

  14. RIP Dwight Clark.
    I’ll never forget my pops jumping out of his chair and screaming to the heavens when you made that catch and my Grandma (Cowboy fan) saying we will get you next year. Sorry Grammy… you were wrong. It took another 20 years for that revenge.
    Awesome memory as a youngster.

  15. wonder if the “forever #2 QB” of all time (TB12)..
    has said anything yet… since he was in the stands with his Dad
    when that immortal play happened… and … alledgedly
    inspired him to become a football player ?

      1. Thanks nakamoto… however can’t find it on the
        link you provided….. if you could link the actual page
        where the instagram resides… it would be much
        appreciated … as I’m not involved
        in any social media platform …

        (except this one) … :-}


          “Dwight Clark was one of my idols growing up in San Mateo,” Brady writes. “I was lucky enough to be at the game where my hero Joe Montana perfectly placed the game winning throw/catch to Dwight in the corner of the end zone to beat the cowboys in the 1981 season. I was 4 years old and cried to my parents the entire first half because I couldn’t see the field when the grown ups would stand and scream for the 49ers. I got a chance to meet him when we happened to share the same orthodontist in San Mateo and I sabotaged one of his visits just to meet him and shake his hand. He was incredibly gracious to me that day as a young boy. And I never forgot the impact he made on me as all of our heroes do. I am sad tonight hearing of his passing of ALS but I know he is now resting and at peace finally after many years valiantly fighting such a terrible disease. Thank you for the great memories and RIP!

          1. Thanks for posting, #80. I know a lot of guys don’t like Brady, but I do, and in no small part because he was a die-hard Niners fan, and thinks Joe Montana hung the moon. How bad can he be? I think this post shows him to be a classy guy.

  16. Shame to hear about DC. Of course we all love The Catch. On of my favorite all time DC plays was the shake route touchdown earlier in the game.

  17. What I appreciated about Dwight Clark was the kind of person that he was. If you talked to him or heard his interviews, he never failed to mention that it was the two defensive plays made after The Catch that won the game.

    1. Every single interview I can recall with Dwight, he was upbeat, smiling and relaxed.
      He was good on the inside.
      I admire his life and his style. His athletic success was correlative to his world view and his cultural perspective. He wuz good-ol-dude.
      I once literally bumped into him at McNear’s in P-town. His lady shoved him for hip checking my Duchess in a music venue while dancing. Just kidding around, I said they should buy us a drink. They did. They were really nice.

  18. #87 is gone, but will be remembered by 49er fans for as long as the team exists.
    Not only was there the Catch, but there was his great play for years.
    He will be missed. Best wishes to his family.

  19. RIP, Dwight. My sincerest condolences to his family.
    I wish to thank Eddie for all his support. It was Eddie who flew in all the former players to allow Dwight to see them for one last time.
    He may have succumbed to an insidious disease, but he also lived a life that was amazing and admirable. The Catch will be a seminal event. It defined the pinnacle of achievement, that any Niner could want to strive towards, because it started a Dynasty.
    His fame and legacy will be enduring, not only on the field, but off the field, too.

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