The Jacksonville Jaguars will not be tasked with slowing the NFL's 2013 sack-leader when the Indianapolis Colts travel to EverBank Field in Week 3, as Robert Mathis was issued a four-game suspension for violation the league's policy for performance enhancing substances, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
In a statement released by Mathis shortly after the announcement of the suspension, the Colts pass rusher blamed the suspension on a medicine prescribed by doctors to help with fertility challenges:
"Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance," Mathis said. "I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not. I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season."
"The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby. We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season."
Eric Winston, the president of the NFL Players Association and currently a free agent, expressed disappointment in the league's decision to suspend Mathis and said the punishment "shows a lack of compassion and perspective."
Mathis will miss the first four games of the season, including a Week 3 matchup against the Jaguars and games against the Broncos, Eagles and Titans. Erik Walden and 2013 first-round pick, Bjoern Werner, will likely be pegged as the pair of starting outside linebackers for the team in the absence of Mathis.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Mathis had a career year in 2013, accumulating 19.5 sacks for the Colts and earning his first career First Team All-Pro nod. In two games against the Jaguars, he accumulated five sacks, including a season-best three sacks against the team in Week 4.