FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was suspended without pay for four games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.
Winslow, the team's leading receiver with 17 catches, is immediately beginning his suspension, meaning he will sit out the Jets' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
"It came as a huge surprise to me when I learned that I tested positive for a banned substance," Winslow said in a statement issued by his publicist. "I have investigated all possible sources since learning of the positive test, including possible medical causes, but frustratingly, I do not know the source.
"I do not take supplements that list any banned ingredients, but the NFL policy is very strict, so I am accountable for the results."
He will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Nov. 4, following New York's game against New Orleans on Nov. 3.
The Jets have a bye-week break after they play the Saints, so Winslow's next opportunity to play would be on Nov. 17 at Buffalo.
"I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches and Jets fans for this situation," Winslow said. "I will work extremely hard during this time away from the field and look forward to contributing to the team as soon as the suspension ends."
Winslow had been listed as doubtful on the Jets' injury report on Friday, and coach Rex Ryan excused him from participating in practice but declined to go into details.
"I'd rather not get into it," Ryan said. "I excused him. I'll just say that."
The 30-year-old Winslow, in his first year with the Jets, has been dealing with a balky right knee all season that kept him out of practice all week. He hasn't missed any games, though, and had two touchdown catches, including one in New York's 30-28 victory at Atlanta on Monday night.
But he didn't speak to reporters after the win, and uncharacteristically chose to not speak in the locker room after practice all week. That led to speculation that perhaps he was unhappy with his role in the offense. Last season, Winslow played in just one game with New England before asking to be released because he anticipated a lack of playing time behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.