Gates became the fourth NFL player to be suspended Thursday for a substance abuse violation, meeting the same four-game fate as the New York Jets' Sheldon Richardson and the Dallas Cowboys' Rolando McClain. Green Bay Packers' lineman Datone Jones received a one-game suspension.
Gates responded to the suspension by saying he never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. Gates said in a statement that he has recently taken a “holisitc” approach to caring for his body.
“In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn't reflect them," Gates explained on Twitter on Thursday.
“We are tremendously disappointed for our team and for our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers said in a statement.
The team noted that it still supported Gates “100 percent.”
In 16 games during the 2014 season for San Diego, Gates had 69 receptions for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns.