The Panthers will be without a key member of their defensive line rotation for the next month.
The league announced that defensive end Charles Johnson was suspended four games for violating the policy on performance enhancing substances.
The suspension begins immediately, and he’ll be eligible to return for Week 17.
“I accept full responsibility,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team. “I have been recovering from back surgery, dealing with the daily grind of football and mistakenly thought this could help. It was an error in judgement on my part. We have a special group here I wanted to be a part of and felt an obligation to do my part by getting back as soon as possible.
“I have always prided myself on being a person who does things the right way through hard work, dedication and sacrifice. I want to apologize to my team, Mr. Richardson and Panthers fans for this mistake. Regretfully I have disappointed people, but I promise to come back ready to redeem myself when this suspension is over.”
The 31-year-old Johnson has 67.5 sacks in his 11 seasons with the team, and has been a solid player against the run throughout his career. Now, the Panthers are a man short as they push for playoff position.