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It seems as though Tom Brady won’t be the only Patriots’ player that begins the season on a four game suspension. New England defensive lineman Rob Ninkovich is joining the list. On Friday afternoon, Ninkovich tested positive for an illegal substance. He is banned for four games and will be able to return with Brady during week five’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
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Ninkovich is showing remorse for his decision to use a controlled substance. However, no amount of remorse shown takes away from the fact that he chose to use something that he knows was banned by the National Football League. Whether or not the substance was a narcotic or steroid has not been disclosed at this time.
Rob Ninkovich released a statement after confirmation of a banned substance was disclosed, “Few things are more important to me than my name and reputation. This might call that into question for some, which has me heartbroken” He went on to say, “I want to do things the right way, with high integrity, and that’s what I have always wanted to stand for.” Ninkovich will be spending the rest of the season trying to regain his rapport with the Patriots as well as the league.
New England is known for not taking situations like this lightly. There is a no tolerance policy and if Ninkovich is found using substance of any kind again, it will cost him the 2016 season.
The gap Ninkovich has left behind will likely be filled by veteran Chris Long. Long had a solid showing during this preseason and likely earned himself the starting gig with Rob Ninkovich out. Another player that will need to step up is Trey Flowers. During the past few preseason games, Flowers has done a good job making a name for himself. He made a positive impact on the Patriots during their season opener against the New Orleans Saints. As for Ninkovich, hopefully he is able to join Brady in week five against the Browns.