FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WPRI) — Star quarterback Tom Brady will not be the only Patriots’ player who will miss the first four games of the season.
Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has tested positive for a banned substance, forcing him to serve a four-game suspension to open the 2016 regular season.
According to ESPN, Ninkovich said Friday that he is devastated and shocked, and would never knowingly take an illegal substance.
Ninkovich, 32, has yet to miss a game with the New England Patriots heading into his 8th season with the team.
The pass-rusher has been in integral part of their defense, recording 47 career sacks in the regular season and playoffs.
Chris Long, a veteran and newly signed defense end, will take over in Ninkovich’s place.
Long, 31, will look to get back to form in years past where he was top 10 in sacks recorded in 2011 and 2012, with 13 sacks and 11.5 sacks respectively.