Yet another suspension has been announced by the NFL, as the Chargers confirmed today (via Twitter) that tight end Antonio Gates will miss the first four games of the 2015 season. The penalty was handed down due to a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
“We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself,” the Chargers said in a statement. “Antonio is a member of the Chargers’ family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it’s unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level.”
For his part, Gates also released a statement, confirming that he tested positive for a substance that he was unaware was on the league’s banned substance list.
“I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues, and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Gates said. “I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me.”
Gates, the Chargers‘ all-time leader in catches, made it known after the 2014 season that he was not considering retirement. In fact, he stated that 2015 might not even be his last season. Now, for the first four weeks of the season, the tight end position will be held down by understudy Ladarius Green, someone who many feel is a future star.