San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network. Gates released a statement in which he claimed he unknowingly took something on the banned list while using supplements this offseason.
"I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL," Gates said in a statement. "In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn't reflect them."
Gates went on to say that he should know better as a veteran and should have done his due diligence in selecting what goes inside his body, especially at this stage of his career. Gates said that "ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues," a stance the NFL has long held. He apologized to Chargers coaches, teammates and fans.
The team also released a statement, saying that Gates is a member of the Chargers' family and that they will "continue to support him 100 percent."
Gates, 35, probably doesn't have much time left in the NFL. It stands to reason that he would be needing more supplements and other means of recovery after his 12th NFL season. Gates has been with the Chargers since 2003 and has played in 179 games, totaling 788 receptions for 10,014 yards and 99 touchdowns. Last season, he had 821 yards and 12 touchdowns.