The unexplained benching of Tampa Bay Bucs running back Doug Martin cleared up Wednesday afternoon.
Martin announced he is serving a four-game suspension for performing enhancing drugs.
“I was notified last week of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy,” Martin said in a statement. “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 (Dirk) 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.”
General manager Licht, also in a statement, said his team supports Martin, although his suspension happened at a time the Bucs were pushing toward the playoffs.
“Doug has been a valued member of our organization for the past five seasons and we respect and support his decision to seek help,” Licht 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.”
The Bucs still have a small playoff hope, but in all probability will end their season Sunday.