NFL suspends Mathis four games

Mathis was selected in the fifth round (138th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2003 NFL Draft. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts All-Pro linebacker Robert Mathis was suspended on Friday for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the NFL’s policy on prohibited substances.

Mathis released a statement in which he said the failed drug test came from taking a fertility drug. The unnamed drug is not approved by the FDA for fertility in males and has been prohibited as a performance-enhancing substance by the NFL for years, according to a statement released by NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello.

Mathis admits to making the mistake of not contacting the NFL or NFL Players Association about taking the medication.

“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, “ Mathis said in a statement. “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.”

Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 2013. He will be eligible to return to the Colts’ active roster on Sept. 29 following their Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans.