Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin violated the policy of the NFL for performance enhancing drugs and must serve a suspension of four games that takes effective immediately, he announced on Wednesday.
Martin on Wednesday said he was notified a week ago that he was given a 4-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy. His initial instinct was appealing the suspension and end the season with the team.
However, following a number of talks with people who are close to him, including his Coach Dirk Koetter, Martin said he would start the suspension immediately so he is able to go to a treatment facility and get the help he truly needs.
Martin in his prepared statement said that while on the field he had to be determined and strong to push through pain as well as injuries so he can become an elite running back in the NFL.
Off the gridiron, he said he tried that same approach in his personal life. His shortcomings in that area, he added, taught him that he cannot win those personal battles by himself and there is nothing shameful in asking other for help.
Tampa Bay has the right to cut Martin without any penalty, but they might give the player another chance. However, they will likely look to draft another running back in what has been called a draft loaded in talent.
Martin was selected to the Pro Bowl last season. He was inactive for last Saturday’s game versus New Orleans and Koetter said it was a coach’s decision.
The suspension starts with the final game of the regular season on Sunday against Carolina. It is expected that the Bucs will start Jacquizz Rodgers in Martin’s place especially after Charles Sims was placed by the Bucs on injured reserve earlier this week.
Martin added that he apologized to the Glazer family (team owners), Jason Licht the general manager and the entire organization, his teammates and the fans.
He said he let everyone down and it was not what he envisioned for this season. However, he added that adversity often yields opportunity and he would ask for support from everyone in his battle to overcome his personal issued.
Teammates Mike Evans and Jameis Winston said on Wednesday they were confused as to why Winston had been listed as inactive for last week’s game.
Last season, Martin had 1,402 yards rushing, which was No. 2 in the league behind Adrian Peterson of Minnesota. He has struggled most of this season both prior to and after suffering an injured hamstring.