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Colts' Mathis suspended for PED violation

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 16 2014 04:34:59 PM CDT
Updated On: May 16 2014 05:06:28 PM CDT
Indianapolis Colts helmet

NFL

The Indianapolis Colts will begin next season without a key component of their defense.

The NFL announced Friday the suspension of Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis without pay for the first four games of the regular season for a violation of the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs.

Mathis issued a statement saying the positive test was the result of taking a drug that he thought to be approved by the NFL to aid fertility.

"It is difficult for me to address the circumstances surrounding this suspension because they involve very personal medical information, but it is very important to me that my fans, particularly young people, understand what did and did not occur," Mathis said in a statement. "Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance. I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not.

"I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season. The union has worked very closely with me to present all of the facts and medical records for consideration of discipline that does not include a suspension because of the unique facts of my case, but the Commissioner refused the request.

"I am deeply saddened that this situation will prevent me from contributing to my team for four games, and I regret that I didn't cross check what my doctor told me before I took the medication. I hope that my fans will understand the unique circumstances involved here and continue to know that I am a man of integrity who would never intentionally circumvent the performance-enhancing substance policy agreed to by the NFL and my union.

"The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby. We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season. I will work extremely hard during that time to stay in top football shape and will be prepared to contribute immediately upon my return."

Mathis will be eligible to return to the Colts' active roster on Monday, Sept. 29, after their Sept. 28 game against the Tennessee Titans. He also will miss games against the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.

"We are disappointed in Roger's decision," NFLPA president Eric Winston said in reference to commissioner Roger Goodell. "Given the set of facts that Robert, medical experts and our union presented, upholding this suspension shows a lack of compassion and perspective. We support Robert and are happy for him and his family."

Mathis is eligible to participate in offseason and preseason practices and games.

"We have learned that Robert Mathis will be required to serve a four-game suspension under the League's policy on prohibited substances," the Colts said in a statment. "We recognize the extreme seriousness of this matter and will honor the confidentiality requirements of the League's program.

"We nevertheless wish to assure Robert and our fans that he remains an honored and cherished member of the Colts family and that we support him as he deals with this difficult challenge."

The 33-year-old Mathis finished second to Luke Kuechly in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. Mathis had a career-best 19 1/2 sacks, 59 tackles and forced eight fumbles.

In 11 NFL seasons, all with the Colts, Mathis has racked up 487 tackles, including 111 sacks.

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