Doug Martin
Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Martin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running back, has been suspended for four games after he violated the NFL's drug policy. On Wednesday, he confirmed that he will be entering rehab as soon as possible.

Martin expressed that he was not aware at first that he will be given a four-game suspension. “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 (Dirk) Koetter -- I am starting the suspension immediately so I can enter a treatment facility and receive the help I truly need.”

According to Tampa Bay Times, as of Dec.24, Martin looked healthy and there were no signs that he was using drugs. However, by Wednesday, the NFL player was ordered not to attend the team’s practices. Martin’s suspension will start this week during the regular season finale against the Carolina Panthers. It will last until the remaining three games before the start of the 2017 season.

After Martin was benched last Wednesday, he was replaced by Jacquizz Rodgers, who made 63 yards on 15 carries. It has been a struggling season for Martin since he only averaged 2.9 yards per carry, which is considered as the lowest among all NFL running backs with 100-plus carries. He ranked second in the NFL last season. He also signed a five-year contract in the offseason.

In the locker room, the other players of the Buccaneers were asked about Martin’s condition. All of them offered their support and encouraged Martin to get well so that he can return to his Pro Bowl levels next season. “Doug's a great player. I don't know what he did, but I'm sure he'll come back strong next year,” receiver Mike Evans said.

After the said incident, Martin apologised to Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht and the entire Tampa Bay organisation, his teammates and his family about what he did. “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.”