Corey Liuget suspended four games for PED violation

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, the league announced Friday.

"I made a mistake and take full responsibility," Liuget said in a statement. "As part of my training program, I placed my trust in someone who, in hindsight, was not well-versed in the NFL's policy on banned substances. As players, we're told time and again that the NFL holds you responsible for anything in your body.

"Even if you take it accidentally, it's on you. Pretty cut and dry. You hear it and think, 'That won't be me, that can't possibly happen to me.' Yet here I am, suspended four games. And that's my fault. I apologize to our fans, my family and the entire Chargers organization. I hate that I won't be able to be there for my teammates to start the season, but I will turn this into a positive. When my number is called, you can count on me being ready to answer that call."

Liuget is eligible to participate in all offseason activities and preseason practices and games.

The organization said it is standing by Liuget.

"Even though Corey's mistake was unintentional, he understands how disappointing this is for everyone in the organization," general manager Tom Telesco said in a statement. "I'm pleased he has accepted responsibility on the matter, and we respect and support the League's decision. We also support Corey. Few people have a bigger heart and have done more for the community. While nobody feels worse than Corey himself right now, we know he will bounce back from this."

Selected No. 18 overall by the Chargers in the 2011 draft, Liuget was slated to make $8 million in total compensation for the 2018 season.

The Illinois product played solid defense inside last season, finishing with 21 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 12 games while garnering Pro Bowl consideration.

However, Liuget has just 4.5 sacks in the past three seasons, and the Chargers have young, emerging talent at defensive tackle in Darius Philon and Isaac Rochell.

In seven NFL seasons, Liuget has recorded 260 combined tackles and 22.5 sacks.

A South Florida native, Liuget recently met and worked out with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team and set up a scholarship fund to honor former assistant coach Aaron Feis, one of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.