In a shocking announcement, Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was suspended by the NFL for testing positive for the use of Adderall. The news comes as the 7-5 Ravens are right in the middle of a playoff push — they visit Miamt this weekend to take on the AFC’s current No. 6 seed — as one of four teams who are tied for the AFC’s final playoff spot.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Add Ngata’s Name to the List of Adderall Suspensions
The NFL has had several players suspended over the last three years because of Adderall. The most notable suspension, another from left field, was Wes Welker’s suspension due to his alleged use of Adderall while attending the Kentucky Derby — and not Molly.
The notable list of players suspended for the drug also includes: Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, Patriots CB Brandon Browner (then of the Seahawks), Browns CB Joe Haden and Broncos CB Aqib Talib (then of the Buccaneers before being traded to New England).
2. The Well-respected Veteran is Notably Embarrassed
In a statement released by the Ravens, Ngata acknowledges his mistake:
“I made a mistake, and I own this. I took Adderall and take full responsibility for doing this. I am deeply sorry and broken up over this. I let down my family, my teammates, Ravens fans and myself. My hope is that the Ravens make the playoffs, and I believe they can do this. And, then I can come back and help us win.”
He felt humiliated after the test results came in, but he did not dispute what he did, and will take his suspension in stride. This is the second major distraction the Ravens have dealt with in 2014, the other being… Ray Rice.
3. He Will Miss the Remainder of the 2014 Season
Ngata’s suspension is for four games, which will effectively end his 2014 season unless the Ravens make the playoffs. In that case, he will then be eligible to play in a hypothetical Ravens playoff game.
4. Ngata Cost Himself Some Money
According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the 30-year-old Ngata found out about his pending suspension on Tuesday. The Ravens veteran will lose $2.125 million from his 2014 base salary. In 2014, he made $8.5 million of the $12.1 million average salary he was due to make through his base salary. In 2015, Ngata will be paid the same figures, which is also the final year of his contract.
5. Ngata Took the Drug for Personal Reasons
Rapoport also reported that the reason Ngata took Adderall was because he was feeling sluggish during the regular season from balancing home life and work, and wanted help concentrating. This was different than the other players who were suspended prior — their usage of the drug was more recreational rather than personal.
Adderall is designed to help the stimulate the brain and keep focus, and is now becoming increasingly popular among the college demographic as a study aid.