Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget has been suspended without pay by the NFL for the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the team announced Friday.
Liuget, 28, is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
He has started 100 of the 102 NFL games he has played during his seven-year NFL career. Liuget started all 12 games he played in 2017, when he had 21 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes knocked down.
"I made a mistake and take full responsibility," Liuget said in a statement released by the team. "As part of my training program, I placed my trust in someone who, in hindsight, was not well-versed in the NFL's policy on banned substances. As players, we're told time and again that the NFL holds you responsible for anything in your body. Even if you take it accidentally, it's on you. Pretty cut and dry. You hear it and think, 'That won't be me, that can't possibly happen to me.' Yet here I am, suspended four games. And that's my fault. I apologize to our fans, my family and the entire Chargers organization. I hate that I won't be able to be there for my teammates to start the season, but I will turn this into a positive. When my number is called, you can count on me being ready to answer that call."
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco also issued a statement.
"Even though Corey's mistake was unintentional, he understands how disappointing this is for everyone in the organization," Telesco said in his statement. "I'm pleased he has accepted responsibility on the matter, and we respect and support the League's decision. We also support Corey. Few people have a bigger heart and have done more for the community. While nobody feels worse than Corey himself right now, we know he will bounce back from this."