CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pro Bowl linebacker Thomas Davis will be suspended for the first four games of his final NFL season after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug.
Davis, who already has said he will retire after the 2018 season, made the announcement Friday on social media, calling it "by far one of the saddest days of my NFL career.''
Davis, 35, also posted a video with the message.
This is by far one of the saddest days of my NFL career. I never thought that this would happen to me. I've worked extremely hard to do things the right way on and off the field. Panther Nation please know that I am not a cheater. #KeepPounding pic.twitter.com/zUppMfm6yk— Thomas Davis (@ThomasDavisSDTM) April 6, 2018
"I was completely caught off-guard by this,'' he said. "I've never in any way done anything to try to intentionally cheat the game. I've taken the same supplements for the last seven or eight years and never had any issues ... been tested numerous times over the years while taking the same stuff.
"Unfortunately, this is some of the things that happen when you take supplements. I've never tested positive for steroids or HGH. This is not one of those situations. It ended up being an estrogen blocker that triggered a positive test for me. I just want you guys to know that in no way would I ever do anything to cheat this game or try to create a competitive advantage over anybody."
Davis, the 14th pick of the 2005 draft and 2014 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, already planned to have his role lessened this season to make more time for Shaq Thompson in nickel situations.
"I can honestly tell you guys that my conscience is clear in this situation," Davis said. "And as bad as it hurts me to sit here and tell you guys this, I know it's going to hurt a lot of people that have looked up and believed in Thomas Davis over the years.
"Just know that in no way -- in no way -- have I done anything intentionally to try to cheat this game. I'm going to serve this four-game suspension, and I'll be back ready to go back out there with my teammates."