Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin was listed as inactive for last Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. The circumstances around it seemed a bit murky as he was completely healthy.
Rumors were abundant that he would be inactive for the season finale against Carolina, and on Wednesday the picture seemed to clarify a bit.
Martin released this statement:
“I was notified last week of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy,” Martin explained. “My initial instinct was to appeal the suspension and finish the season with my teammates. However, after numerous discussions with people close to me – including Coach Koetter – I am starting the suspension immediately so I can enter a treatment facility and receive the help I truly need.
“On the field, I must be strong and determined to push through both pain and injuries to become an elite NFL running back. Off the field, I have tried that same approach in my personal life. My shortcomings in this area have taught me both that I cannot win these personal battles alone and that there is no shame in asking for help.
“I sincerely apologize to the Glazer family, General Manager Jason Licht and the entire Tampa Bay organization, my teammates and our tremendous fans. This was not the season I envisioned and I have let everyone down, including myself. However, adversity yields opportunity and I ask for your support in my battle to overcome these personal issues.”
This is news to many around the team as Martin never showed any indications of having a problem with drugs. It would be unfair to speculate on the nature of which drugs he may have been abusing but everyone is hoping that he receives the help he needs to not only continue his career but his life.
Prior to the season, Martin signed a five-year, $37.75 million contract. It’s unclear how the team will respond after hearing this news, although general manager Jason Licht issued a statement.
“Doug has been a valued member of our organization for the past five seasons and we respect and support his decision to seek help,” Light said. “Right now, he is working through issues that are much larger than the game of football. Our primary concern is that he takes this time to focus on getting the help that he needs in order to move forward with his personal and professional life.”