The NFL has suspended New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes four games without pay for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Spikes, the team's second leading tackler, will miss the rest of the regular season, starting Sunday at the Chicago Bears. The rookie drafted in the second round from Florida will be eligible to rejoin the active roster after the finale at home against Miami, and would be eligible for the playoffs.
Spikes said in a statement issued by the Patriots that the substance "was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking. It was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug."
He apologized to his teammates, fans and the Patriots organization.