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Former Ohio State Linebacker Justin Hilliard Suspended For Two Games By NFL

The second-year pro violated the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The New York Giants announced on Friday afternoon that former Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the upcoming NFL season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

A former five-star prospect from Cincinnati St. Xavier, Hilliard dealt with numerous injuries during his career with the Buckeyes, which includes tearing his biceps, meniscus and Achillies. Still, he put forth his best season as a sixth-year senior in 2020, when he recorded 33 tackles, a team-high five tackles for loss and one interception.

Hilliard signed an undrafted free agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers at the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft, but was released before the start of the regular season. He was claimed off waivers by the Giants and saw 15 special teams snaps in two games before he was placed on season-ending injured reserve with an ankle injury.

After learning of his suspension, Hilliard revealed he mistakenly ingested his partner’s prescription medication rather than his own anti-inflammatory prescription. 

“I have been informed by the NFL that I tested positive for a banned diuretic – Spironolactone (Canrenone),” Hilliard said. "I am well aware of the NFL's zero-tolerance policy, and I take full responsibility for having a banned substance in my body."

Hilliard can still participate in preseason practices and games but will be removed from the active roster before the season opener. He’ll be eligible to return for New York's Week 3 game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 26.

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