BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady won’t be the only New England Patriot to sit out the first four games of the 2016 season.
Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has been hit with a four-game suspension after he tested positive for a banned substance.
In an interview with ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Ninkovich said he was devastated and shocked to learn of the ban, and he would never knowingly take a banned substance.
“Few things are more important to me than my name and reputation. This might call that into question for some, which has me heartbroken,” Ninkovich told ESPN. “I don’t want to cut any corners. I want to do things the right way, with high integrity, and that’s what I have always wanted to stand for.”
Ninkovich, 32, has played in 116 straight games for the Patriots since signing with the team as a free agent in August of 2009.
“Any supplement I’ve ever used was bought at a store. I was unaware something I bought had a substance in it that would give me a positive test because it wasn’t listed [as an ingredient],” he told ESPN. “One thing I have learned is that if a supplement is not NSF certified there are no regulations that ensure that what is on the label is 100 percent accurate. That is a hard lesson for me to learn at this stage in my career, but I take responsibility for it. It’s a mistake I made and it hurts that I won’t be there for my teammates.”
Ninkovich tore his triceps back on August 9, so there already was a chance he would miss the beginning of the regular season. The NFL has not yet announced the suspension.