New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate has been suspended for four games for using a drug prescribed for fertility planning. The 10-year veteran, who signed with the Giants in March as a free agent, announced the suspension in a Twitter post Saturday.
He said he plans to appeal the violation of the NFL's policy on performance enhancers and that he would have no further comment. The NFL was not immediately available for comment.
The Giants' receiving corps has been swamped by injuries in the first three days of training camp.
Sterling Shepard, who was supposed to take over as the No. 1 receiver with the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland, broke his left thumb in the opening practice on Thursday. It was disclosed the following day that wideout and kickoff returner Corey Coleman tore an ACL in the same workout.
Rookie Darius Slayton, the fifth-round draft choice, has missed the first two workouts with a hamstring injury. Brittan Golden sustained a groin injury late Friday.
The Tate suspension is the latest blow. He can practice in training camp but will not be able to play in the first four regular-season games unless his suspension is overturned. That rarely happens.
In his statement, Tate said he and his wife met with a fertility specialist in April. He took a prescribed drug and learned shortly after an ingredient was a substance banned by the league. Tate said he reported the problem to the independent administrator of the NFL policy on performance-enhancing Substances, and alerted his coaches and general manager.
Tate is confident his appeal has merit. He said he has never violated the league's rules on banned substances and the treatment will have no effect on the 2019 season.
Tate has over 7,000 yards receiving in his career. He won Super Bowl LXVIII with the Seattle Seahawks and made the Pro Bowl the following year as a member of the Detroit Lions.
CBSSports.com obtained Tate's full statement:
This past April, during the offseason, my wife and I decided to see a specialist for fertility planning. I started the treatment prescribed to me and just days later I discovered it contained an ingredient that is on the league's banned substance list. I immediately discontinued use, I reported the situation to the independent administrator of the NFL Policy of Performance-Enhancing Substances, and I spoke with my coaches and general manager. I did all of this well before a failed test was even confirmed.
Per NFL protocol, an initial suspension was imminent, but myself and the Giants organization are confident in the facts, and eagerly await my appeal to put this behind us.
During the entirety of my 10-year career I have taken great pride in playing this game the right way, have been an ambassador for the NFL and have never had any issues with the league's policy. The treatment this past April had no effect on the upcoming season, and I did not, and could not have undergone this treatment in April for any competitive advantage. I deeply appreciate the support from the New York Giants organization, and will continue to hold the highest level of character and integrity, while being a leader in the locker room.
In respect to the team and my teammates, I won't be speaking on this again until after the appeal. I'm focusing on football, and will not let this be a distraction.