Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson spoke to the media after Tuesday afternoon's practice about his four game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The Bucs starting free safety learned of his suspension on Tuesday from head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik.
"I'm definitely disappointed in myself. I let my team down obviously," said Jackson. " a lot of people down. The fans, I'd like to apologize to them for the decisions that I made that got me in this position. Today I just addressed the team and let them know the situation I was in. I let them know that I'd be out the first four games, and I'm apologetic, and that when I come back I hope to get back on track and move on."
Jackson would not say what he used in order to get the suspension, but did say his substance abuse problem started before he entered the NFL in 2007.
"Again I can't go into the details of the situation," said Jackson. "I can let people know that I'm disappointed in the decisions that I made that got me in this situation.
"It was something that was before I got into this league, but it kind of lingered on. Again it led to my suspension."
Jackson said the suspension was not a shock to him, and he had been in contact with the NFL regarding his substance abuse issues.
"When Mark Dominik told me what had happened it wasn't a shock," said Jackson. "Because I knew the situation I was in. I just didn't know when something like this would happen or if it would ever happen.
"I had to comply with some things, and in speaking with [the league] as a result of that, is what ultimately led to my suspension."
Jackson was asked if it was his desire to address the issue with his teammates, or if he was instructed to do so by Morris and Dominik.
"It was my idea," said Jackson. "I felt like I owed them that. That assurance that I wasn't going to be there."
Jackson and the Buccaneers decided not to appeal the suspension, and the Bucs third-year defensive back said that he would have to address the substance abuse problem privately. Jackson was asked if he would seek treatment or counseling with the substance abuse problem.
"Oh yeah, I definitely have some off the field issues that I have to address for myself," said Jackson. "For my well-being and for the well-being of the team."
Jackson was not aware of what he wouldn't be able to participate in once his suspension starts at the beginning of the 2009 season.
"Not really right now I just know that I can continue to play in the rest of the preseason games," said Jackson. "From there I really don't know. I just know I can't play in the first four."
Jackson will not be allowed to practice with the team starting Saturday September 5. On Monday October 5, Jackson can return to practice and prepare to play in the Bucs fifth game of the season at Philadelphia.
In the meantime, the Bucs are mulling their options at safety.