The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock in the NFL Draft on April 30, 2015 in Chicago. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers received notice that rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday that the suspension is subject to appeal, and Alexander has five days to file the paperwork challenging the outcome.
Alexander is expected to play Sunday in Indianapolis against the Colts. He will be permitted to keep playing until his appeal is resolved.
Alexander has taken responsibility for his actions, blaming an "energy drink" he has been using since high school.
"It's my fault,'' Alexander said after the Bucs' 45-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday. "It's very disappointing, and I'm just disappointed in myself because all (our coaches) keep saying, 'If you're going to drink something, ask somebody first.' So I hold myself accountable.
"It was a surprise to me -- I didn't know what I took or anything. It was an energy drink. I didn't know. I always took it, like in high school and everything. I've never been in any trouble or anything, so it's very disappointing. I'm definitely going to appeal it, and whatever the (result of) the appeal process is, I'll come back even stronger.''
Alexander, 21, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance during training camp.
Alexander received national prominence earlier this month when he played with a heavy heart in the upset victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 1 -- less than 48 hours after his 17-year-old brother was shot to death. In the game, he recorded a game-high 11 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Following the Bucs' 23-20 overtime win over the Falcons and playing with all emotion, Alexander acknowledged the loss of his brother, Broderick Taylor II, who was killed during a fight in their hometown of Anniston, Ala.
The 6-foot-1, 227-pound Alexander, a fourth-round draft selection out of LSU, is Tampa Bay's second-leading tackler with 73 after getting 10 tackles on Sunday. He also has two sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery this season.