Patriots ILB Brandon Spikes has been suspended for four games for violating the NFL's policy on banned substances. PFW correspondent and Boston Herald writer Ian Rapoport first reported the suspension.
Spikes released the following statement: "I've been contacted by the NFL and informed that I will be suspended four games for the detection of an illegal substance in a drug test. The substance was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking. It was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug. The integrity of the game is very important to me. I understand the league's ruling and apologize to my teammates, the fans and the Patriots' organization for this mistake."
A second-round pick out of Florida, Spikes is third on the team with 59 tackles this season, including one tackle for a loss. He has three passes defensed and picked off his first career pass in Monday night's win over the Jets.
The rookie has played in every game this season, starting eight.
The way we see it
This is a tough loss for the Patriots' defense. Spikes is a big part of their run defense in their base 3-4 package. He will be back for the playoffs, but you can be certain the Patriots and Bill Belichick are not pleased about this distraction. Gary Guyton, who plays in the team's sub package next to ILB Jerod Mayo, could see increased playing time.