Wednesday’s roundup: Bucs’ Martin sacked with ban
Tampa, Fla. — Buccaneers running back Doug Martin will serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The ban begins immediately, after Martin ultimately decided not to appeal.
“I was notified last week of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy,” Martin said in a statement, released to ESPN. “My initial instinct was to appeal the suspension and finish the season with my teammates. However, after numerous discussions with people close to me — including Coach (Dirk) Koetter — I am starting the suspension immediately so I can enter a treatment facility and receive the help I truly need.
“On the field, I must be strong and determined to push through both pain and injuries to become an elite NFL running back. Off the field, I have tried that same approach in my personal life. “
Martin, a Pro Bowler last year, missed Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Saints in what Koetter deemed a “coach’s decision.” The suspension begins with this week’s regular-season finale against the Carolina Panthers. Jacquizz Rodgers is likely to start in Martin’s place.
After rushing for 1,402 yards last season, Martin rushed for 421 this season. He missed six weeks because of a hamstring injury.
Green to sit out finale
Bengals receiver A.J. Green won’t play in the final game, leaving him shy of an NFL record.
Green severely strained his right hamstring on the first pass thrown his way during a loss to the Buffalo Bills on Nov 20. He returned to practice a few weeks ago and expected to play Saturday night, but was held out after a scan found it hadn’t fully healed.
Green was among the league leaders in catches and yards when he got hurt. He finishes 36 yards shy of joining Randy Moss as the only NFL players to top 1,000 yards receiving in each of their first six seasons.
Canada goes to court
The company that owns the right to broadcast the Super Bowl in Canada and the NFL went back to court Wednesday in an effort to reverse a decision banning the substitution of Canadian ads over American ones during the game.
Bell Media, which owns CTV, and the NFL formally filed notices of appeal of a recent court ruling upholding the ban, but made clear they’re hoping the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will intervene before the case is heard.
Citing complaints from viewers, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled in 2015 simultaneous substitution of Canadian spots over the star-studded American ads during the Super Bowl would no longer be allowed.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has had surgery for his broken right leg. Veteran Matt Cassel will start in his place.
... Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith is likely to return after 16 seasons and five Pro Bowls.
... Tom Coughlin will interview for the Jacksonville Jaguars job, ESPN reported.
... Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn will start EJ Manuel at quarterback in the season finale.
... Panthers All-Pro middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will not play in the finale (concussion).
... The Jets placed running back Khiry Robinson on IR (broken right leg).
... Browns starting quarterback Robert Griffin III remains in concussion protocol.