NFL

Doug Martin apologizes to Bucs after 4-game suspension for violating drug policy

A day after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that Doug Martin would be inactive in Week 17 for a second straight game, ESPN is reporting that Martin failed a drug test and will begin serving a four-game suspension this weekend.

Bucs RB Doug Martin failed a drug test and is being suspended four games starting now, per league sources.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2016

Martin ran 16 times for 42 yards in Tampa Bay's Week 15 loss to the Cowboys but was a healthy scratch for Week 16 before word came Tuesday that he'd sit out Week 17, too.

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Martin then issued a statement Wednesday after the suspension was reported.

Statement from Doug Martin pic.twitter.com/djnYF44GTD

— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 28, 2016

The 27-year-old has had a roller-coaster five-year career with the Bucs that could be nearing its end. He burst onto the scene with 1,454 yards as a rookie but failed to top 500 as injuries slowed him in both 2013 and 2014. Then came a 1,402-yard 2015 season that seemed to get him back on track, but this year Martin has only 421 yards with a 2.9 average in eight games.

The Buccaneers started Jacquizz Rodgers on Saturday, and he had 15 carries for 63 yards. He's averaging 4.3 yards in 2016 and now has a team-high 485 yards this season.

Last March, Martin signed a five-year, $35.75 million contract with $15 million guaranteed, but his future with the Bucs seems tenuous at best.