BOSTON (AP) — New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
The league announced the suspension Friday. Ninkovich will not be eligible to return to the Patriots’ active roster until Oct. 3 following the team’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
The 32-year-old has not played this preseason after suffering a reported triceps injury during a joint training camp practice with the Saints on Aug. 9. He had returned to practice recently, but had only participated in light conditioning.
Ninkovich was a defensive captain in 2015 and had 52 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks. He becomes the second key piece of the Patriots sidelined due to suspension. Quarterback Tom Brady is also out the first four games to serve a league-imposed suspension for his role in the “Deflategate” case.
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