Former NFL star Darren Sharper will be behind bars for a long time.

Sharper was sentenced to 18 years and four months in prison Thursday in a case in which the five-time Pro Bowl safety was accused of drugging and raping as many as 16 women in four states.

“I would like to apologize a thousand times,” Sharper said Thursday in a New Orleans courtroom, according to The Associated Press. “I’m still trying to figure out why I made some of these choices. … I lived my life right for 38 years, then I took this path.”

Sharper previously pleaded guilty in federal court in New Orleans to drugging three women so he could rape them. The 40-year-old also pleaded guilty or no contest in state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada to charges based on allegations that he drugged and raped women.

The sentence handed down Thursday by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo exceeds the nine-year prison sentence prosecutors originally suggested.

Charges around the country involve nine victims, but Milazzo has said in court that there might be as many as 16, according to The AP.

Sharper played for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints during his 14-year NFL career. He won a Super Bowl with the Saints in February 2010 and retired after the following season.