TAMPA — Bucs running back Doug Martin has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, and he said Wednesday that he will seek treatment.
"My initial instinct was to appeal the suspension and finish the season with my teammates," Martin said in a statement released by the team. "However, after numerous discussions with people close to me, including Coach (Dirk) Koetter, I am starting the suspension immediately so I can enter a treatment facility and receive the help I truly need."
A report on nfl.com said one of the drugs Martin used was Adderall, a stimulant commonly used for treating attention-deficit disorder. For athletes, it's like an amphetamine that can boost energy and sharpen focus.
Martin, 27, said he learned of the suspension last week. He was benched Saturday for the Bucs' 31-24 loss at New Orleans. At the time, Koetter said only that it was a "coach's decision."
Martin will miss Sunday's regular-season finale against the Panthers at Raymond James Stadium.
General manager Jason Licht said he supports Martin's efforts to seek recovery.
"Doug has been a valued member of our organization for the past five seasons," Licht said in a statement. "Right now he is working through issues that are much larger than the game of football. Our primary concern is that he takes the time to focus on getting the help that he needs in order to move forward with his personal and professional life."
Asked how Martin's absence would affect the team on the field or as a distraction, Koetter said, "Zero."
Martin, a two-time Pro Bowl running back, struggled this season, averaging 2.9 yards per carry, the lowest among all running backs with 100-plus carries. Last season Martin, a first-round pick (No. 31 overall) by Tampa Bay in 2012 out of Boise State, finished second in the NFL in rushing with 1,402 yards. He signed a five-year, $35.75 million contract with the team in the offseason.
Martin's announcement came two days after the Bucs signed rookie running back Russell Hansbrough to their 53-man roster from the Giants' practice squad.
But the Bucs are now shorthanded again at running back; Charles Sims was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a pectoral injury.
Bucs players, asked in the locker room Wednesday about Martin's absence before his suspension was announced, offered their support.
"Doug's a great player," receiver Mike Evans said. "I don't know what he did, but I'm sure he'll come back strong next year."
Jameis Winston said he would be Martin's "friend … teammate and … quarterback."
"I'm not worried about his situation," Winston said.