Haloti Ngata suspended 4 games

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has been suspended for the rest of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the team announced Thursday.

Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl defender, received a four-game suspension from the NFL, and he's eligible to return for the playoffs if the Ravens make the postseason.

He will forfeit $2.1 million in salary as a result of the suspension.

"I made a mistake, and I own this," Ngata said in a statement. "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."

Among Adderall's uses is for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The Ravens will likely turn to rookie second-round pick Timmy Jernigan to replace Ngata.

In his ninth season, Ngata was having one of his better years in recent memory. He had two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and seven batted passes.

With Ngata in the middle of the defense, the Ravens ranked No. 4 against the run this season. He is signed through the 2015 season.

"This is disappointing news for the Ravens," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We are disappointed with Haloti, but no more than he is with himself."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh only addressed the news of Ngata's suspension for five seconds at the start of Thursday's team meeting.

"I was very shocked," said rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who is expected to replace Ngata in the starting lineup. "It just didn't sound like Haloti."

Ngata is eligible to return on Monday, Dec. 29.

Under its agreement with the union, the NFL doesn't identify the substance when a player is punished. Adderall has frequently been blamed by suspended players in recent years, but the league cannot confirm or deny whether that was the basis for the positive test. Still, the NFL have been concerned about an increase in Adderall use.

The league's drug tests don't differentiate between Adderall and other amphetamines, which can help with concentration and stamina. Players diagnosed with ADHD can apply for a therapeutic use exemption that permits them to take Adderall.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees expressed confidence in his defense to withstand the loss because the Ravens have overcome losses to key players previously.

"That's the name of the game. Everybody goes through stuff at this time of year," Pees said. "A couple years ago, we played 10 games without Ray Lewis. We played eight games without Suggs. We're going to play four games without Haloti. Next guy up, let's play."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.