December 28, 2016 / 10:43 PM / in a year

Bucs' RB Martin suspended four games for doping violation

(Reuters) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy and said on Wednesday he was entering a treatment facility.

Dec 18, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) runs the ball against Dallas Cowboys strong safety Barry Church (42) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Network reported that two-time Pro Bowler Martin, who was held out of last week’s loss against the New Orleans Saints, was suspended for using the stimulant Adderall.

“I was notified last week of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. My initial instinct was to appeal the suspension and finish the season with my teammates,” Martin, 27, said in a statement.

“However, after numerous discussions with people close to me -- including Coach (Dirk) Koetter -- I am starting the suspension immediately so I can enter a treatment facility and receive the help I truly need.”

Martin signed a five-year, $35.75 million contract, with $15 million guaranteed, last offseason after finishing second in the National Football League in rushing in 2015 with 1,402 yards.

Tampa Bay (8-7) play the Carolina Panthers, last season’s NFC champions, on Sunday in their regular season finale needing a victory and a slew of other outcomes in a longshot bid to reach the playoffs.

“On the field, I must be strong and determined to push through both pain and injuries to become an elite NFL running back. Off the field, I have tried that same approach in my personal life,” Martin said.

“My shortcomings in this area have taught me both that I cannot win these personal battles alone and that there is no shame in asking for help.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said Martin needed to address his problems.

“Doug has been a valued member of our organization for the past five seasons and we respect and support his decision to seek help,” Licht said in a statement. “Right now, he is working through issues that are much larger than the game of football.”

Martin missed six games early in the season after injuring his hamstring in Week 2 and struggled upon his return. For the season, Martin averaged 2.9 yards per carry, lowest in the NFL for backs with at least 70 carries, per NFL Research.

The Bucs placed Charles Sims on injured reserve Wednesday, which leaves Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber as the lead backs in Sunday’s game against Carolina.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Andrew Both

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