NEW YORK -- New England Patriots rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes has been suspended four games without pay by the National Football League on Friday for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.
"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," Spikes said in a statement. "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."
Spikes, who was selected in the second round -- 62nd overall -- out of Florida, has recorded 61 tackles and an interception over 12 games (eight starts) this season.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder will be eligible to return to the Patriots' active roster on Monday, January 3 following New England's final regular season game. He is allowed to participate in all playoff games.