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NFL suspends Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Doug Martin for substance abuse

Alex Butler

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) picks up short yardage against New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) during the third quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans September 20, 2015. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI
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Doug Martin has fallen a long way since his All-Pro season in 2015.
On Wednesday, he hit rock bottom.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Martin was inactive last week and already declared out for Week 17 for "coach's decisions."
"I was notified last week of a four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy," Martin said in a statement. "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, 27, ran for 421 yards and three scores this season after running for 1,402 yards and six scores in 2015.
"On the field, I must be strong and determined to push through both pain and injuries to become an elite NFL running back," Martin said. "Off the field, I have tried that same approach in my personal life. 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."
"I sincerely apologize to the Glazer family, General Manager Jason Licht and the entire Tampa Bay organization, my teammates and our tremendous fans. 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."
Martin signed a five-year, $35.75 million deal in March. He'll sit out the first three games of 2017.
"Doug has been a valued member of our organization for the past five seasons and we respect and support his decision to seek help," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said. "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."
Jacquizz Rodgers is the Buccaneers' lead back for the foreseeable future.

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