The Indianapolis Colts got a huge dose of bad offseason news.
The positive test came as a result of the use of fertility drugs, but Mathis said he failed to check with the NFL or NFLPA to see if the substance was on the suspended list, Mathis said, via statement to NFL.com.
"The union has worked very closely with me to present all of the facts and medical records for consideration of discipline that does not include a suspension because of the unique facts of my case, but the Commissioner refused the request," Mathis said.
Mathis, who had 19.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 2013 and was the runner-up to the Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly for Defensive Player of the Year, had twins with his wife in 2012. The couple is expecting another child this year, which appears to back up Mathis' story a bit.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the drug in question is believed to be Clomid — which, per webmd.com, "may be used to treat low sperm counts" It can be prescribed to both women and men.
Mathis is not the first athlete to be suspended for use of male fertility drugs. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball in 2010.
Per Denise White, Mathis' spokesperson, Mathis began taking the drug in November and stopped when he found out his wife was pregnant. Mathis was told about his positive test and suspension this year, and his appeal was lost.
The Colts issued their own statement on the matter:
"We recognize the extreme seriousness of this matter and will honor the confidentiality requirements of the League's program. We nevertheless wish to assure Robert and our fans that he remains an honored and cherished member of the Colts family and that we support him as he deals with this difficult challenge."
Assuming the suspension sticks, Mathis can return to active roster on Sept. 29, and the Colts will be able to have an exemption roster spot to replace him for the first four games.
The games Mathis are slated to miss include the season-opening contest against the Denver Broncos. It was Mathis' strip sack of his former teammate, Peyton Manning, that helped shift the tide of the game in the Colts' favor last season against Denver. He also will miss games against the Philadelphia Eagles and division opponents in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.
Mathis, 33, has 111 career sacks in 11 seasons, all with the Colts.
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