NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL has suspended free agent quarterback Mark Sanchez for the first four games of next season for violating the league's policy against performance-enhancing substances.
The league announced the punishment Friday. He is eligible to participate in offseason and preseason practices and games.
Sanchez says on Instagram he was ''blind-sided'' and has ''never cheated or attempted to gain a competitive advantage by using a banned performance enhancing substance.'' He says he has been ''subject to 73 drug tests'' and ''all but one have been clean.''
He attributed the result to ''unknowing supplement contamination, not the use of performance enhancing substances.''
Sanchez spent last season as Chicago's third-string quarterback. He has also played for the New York Jets (2009-13), Philadelphia (2014-15) and Dallas (2016).
The 31-year-old quarterback was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft and helped lead the Jets to the AFC championship game during his first two seasons. He has been mostly a backup since being released by New York after the 2013 season, starting just 10 games over the last four years.
Sanchez has thrown for 15,219 yards and 86 touchdowns with 86 interceptions during his career. He did not play in a game for the Bears last season.
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