First he was reported to be a healthy scratch (again), then he was absent at practice. It was reported he was stepping away from the team, but now we know the Bucs top running back Doug Martin is stepping away because he’s facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
On Wednesday, Dirk Koetter opened up his press conference by addressing the elephant in the room of Martin’s status, but didn’t exactly shed light on it. “Doug was excused today. There’s gonna be an announcement coming pretty quick from Doug. There will be a statement coming from him.”
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Martin’s official announcement would be that he is stepping away from the team to “take care of personal issues.”
We now know that those personal issues include getting busted for a performance enhancing substance.
“I was notified last week of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy” Martin said. “My initial instinct was to appeal the suspension and finish the season with my teammates. However, after numerous discussions with people close to me – including Coach Koetter – I am starting the suspension immediately so I can enter a treatment facility and receive the help I truly need.”
Martin was on the roster for the Saints game (even though he was scratched), so that game did not count towards his four-game suspension. That means his suspension would carry over to the first three regular season games of 2017. This also could affect Martin’s $7 million guaranteed money for the 2017 season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out their own statement in reaction to Martin’s status.
“Doug has been a valued member of our organization for the past five seasons and we respect and support his decision to seek help” said Bucs General Manager Jason Licht. “Right now, he is working through issues that are much larger than the game of football. Our primary concern is that he takes this time to focus on getting the help that he needs in order to move forward with his personal and professional life.”
“I sincerely apologize to the Glazer family, General Manager Jason Licht and the entire Tampa Bay organization, my teammates and our tremendous fans” said Martin. This was not the season I envisioned and I have let everyone down, including myself. However, adversity yields opportunity and I ask for your support in my battle to overcome these personal issues.”