Bucs Alexander drops appeal, will begin 4-game suspension
The season is over for rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander unless the Bucs earn a playoff spot.
Alexander dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs and will begin serving the sanction immediately.
He would be eligible to participate if the Bucs (6-6) qualify for the post-season. Tampa Bay is a game behind Seattle for the final NFC wildcard following Sunday's 23-19 win over Atlanta.
Alexander was informed by the league of the positive test for perforrmance enhancing drugs several weeks ago, and following a 45-17 win at Philadelphia, took responsibility for not checking with team trainers before taking an "energy drink" that he has consumed since high school.
"It's my fault. … I've never been in any trouble or anything," Alexander said "It's very disappointing. I'm really disappointed in myself. All they kept saying is if you're about to drink something, ask somebody first. I'm very disappointed in myself and I hold myself accountable. … If I get suspended, I'm going to come back even stronger."
Alexander, a fourth-round pick from LSU, has started every game at middle linebacker and is second on the team with 93 tackles and also has recorded three sacks and two interceptions.
The Bucs will likely replace Alexander with either linebacker Danny Lansanah or Bruce Carter, who misseed Sunday's game with a concussion. It's possible they would use a combination of both players.
Tampa Bay already is short-handed on defense. Against the Falcons, the Bucs were without all four of the defensive linemen who started the season. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (hand), defensive end Jacquies Smith (hamstring) and defensive end George Johnson (calf) all missed Sunday's game. Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald is on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.