After all, Watkins had reported to training camp overweight as a rookie last year. He then suffered a season-ending injury in September. Drawing a suspension under the NFL's substance-abuse policy was another strike against him.
But with coach Jeff Fisher speaking out on Watkins' behalf Thursday, the second-year guard could find himself on firmer ground.
"I'm not going to go into specifics of the suspension," Fisher told reporters in St. Louis. "We respect the league's decision, but personally and respectfully, I disagree with the suspension and the circumstances regarding the suspension."
Watkins couldn't find a better advocate than his head coach in such a situation. The fact that Watkins avoided a longer suspension and that his head coach is contesting even a one-game ban separates his case from most, indicating special circumstances were in play.