ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Field Yates (via Albert Breer) are reporting that Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich is facing a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.
Ninkovich released a statement to Reiss regarding the potential suspension.
“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 said. “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. … 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] … 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 suffered a torn triceps injury a month ago and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Ninkovich, 32, is in the final year of his four-year, $15.04 million contract that included a $5 million signing bonus He stands to make a base salary of $1.5 million for the 2016 season.
In 2015, Ninkovich appeared in all 16 games for the Patriots and recorded 52 tackles, 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a recovery and six pass defenses.