BALTIMORE — Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was suspended without pay for four games Thursday for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Ngata, a Salt Lake City native, will miss the rest of the regular season but will be eligible for the playoffs, the league said.
Ngata said in a statement released by the team that he took Adderall, a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
"I made a mistake, and I own this," he said.
The suspension costs Baltimore one of its defensive stars as the Ravens compete for a playoff berth. They're 1 1/2 games behind the Bengals in the AFC North and one of six 7-5 teams tied for the second wild-card spot.
"I am deeply sorry and broken up over this," Ngata said. "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."
Ngata has two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 12 games this season. Rookie Timmy Jernigan, a second-round pick out of Florida State, likely will take his place in the starting lineup.
"We are disappointed with Haloti, but no more than he is with himself," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
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.