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The NFL suspended Marcus Gilbert for four games for reportedly violating its policy on use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Kevin Colbert, the manager for the Steelers, confirmed the punishment handed down by the front office and the team is disappointed about what happened. The player, meanwhile, will not contest the punishment.
Gilbert can return on Dec. 18 and will miss the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on Dec. 17. He will also miss the games against the Packers, Bengals and the Ravens.
In his Twitter account, Gilbert said sorry to all that have been affected by the controversy. “I apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Steelers family. Regretfully I inadvertently took a banned substance. I promise to come back in great shape and will be ready to play when my suspension is over.”
Pittsburgh-Post Gazette NFL reporter Ed Bouchette noted that Gilbert is not the only Steelers player who was suspended for violating the league’s drug policy. “Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert suspended 4 games for violating NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances,” he tweeted. “4th Steeler in 3 years suspended multiple games: Bryant all of ’16, Bell 3 in ’16, 2 in ’15.”
He was referring to Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell who were suspended for marijuana use and for skipping the NFL’s mandatory drug tests.
This season, Gilbert already missed three games on a hamstring injury. He signed a $30 million contract in 2015, and is considered one of the most important cogs in the Steelers offense, and the top bodyguard for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Gilbert stands to earn $4 million this season. With the four-game suspension, he is expected to lose about $1 million in salary. Chris Hubbard will likely replace him although the Steelers have made quite a cushion this season after winning eight of 10 games.