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NFL: Free agent Mark Sanchez meted four-game ban

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Free agent quarterback Mark Sanchez was issued a four-game suspension by the NFL on Friday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but says he unknowingly took the banned substances.

Sanchez will be sidelined for the first four games of what woukd be his 10th NFL campaign, the first five coming with the New York Jets from 2009-2013 after he was made the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Since being released by the Jets in 2014, Sanchez has had stops in Philadelphia, Denver, Dallas and Chicago.

Sanchez has completed 1,295 of 2,285 passes for 15,219 yards and 86 touchdowns with 86 inerceptions in his career.

In an Instagram posting, Sanchez said he was caught by surprise by the ban and blamed contaminated supplements for the positive test.

“The NFL has informed me that I have tested positive for a substance on the banned substance list,” Sanchez wrote. “I was blind-sided by the news and I want to say unequivocally that I have never cheated or attempted to gain a competitive advantage by using a banned performance enhancing substance.

“During the past nine years as an NFL player I have been subject to 73 drug tests — and average of over 8 tests per season — and all but one have been clean. I have taken the same regimen of supplements for the past five years without any issues.

“The timing and results of my tests establish circumstances of unknowing supplement contamination, not the use of performance enhancing substances.”

Sanchez served as a secondary backup for Chicago rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the second pick of last year’s NFL Draft, last season and did not throw a pass for the Bears. (Agence France-Presse)

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