Tom Brady won’t be the only New England Patriots player to miss the first four games of the 2016 NFL season because of a suspension.
Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has been hit with a four-game ban for using a banned substance, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. The league has not officially announced a suspension for Ninkovich as of this writing.
“Few things are more important to me than my name and reputation,” Ninkovich told Reiss. “This might call that into question for some, which has me heartbroken.
“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 tore his triceps about three weeks ago in training camp and was expected to miss “weeks, not months.” It appears he’ll now have extra time to recover from that injury.
“Any supplement I’ve ever used was bought at a store,” Ninkovich told Reiss. “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.”
The Patriots begin the regular season Sunday, Sept. 11, on the road against the Arizona Cardinals.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images