Patriots LB Brandon Spikes has been absent from practice for each of the last two days, and yesterday the team termed it for "non-injury related" reasons. Now we know why.
Spikes has been suspended for four games by the NFL, effective immediately, for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He will be able to return to the team on Jan. 3, the day after the regular season ends (there are four games remaining in the regular season).
His agent, Terry Watson, said he will not appeal the ruling so that he may return to the team for the postseason.
Spikes released a statement through the team, saying it was not a performance enhancer or illegal drug but a medication that he did not get cleared by medical staff before ingesting.
Here is Spikes' statement:
“I’ve been contacted by the NFL and informed that I will be suspended four games for the detection of an illegal substance in a drug test. The substance was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking. It was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug. The integrity of the game is very important to me. I understand the league’s ruling and apologize to my teammates, the fans and the Patriots organization for this mistake.”
Here is the statement from the NFL:
"Brandon Spikes of the New England Patriots has been suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
Spikes’ suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Patriots’ active roster on Monday, January 3 following the team’s final regular season game on January 2 against the Miami Dolphins.
Spikes is eligible to participate in all playoff games."
A second-round draft pick out of Florida, Spikes had played in all 12 of the Pats' games, with 71 tackles and three pass breakups; he got his first career interception on Monday night against the Jets.