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NFL issues statement on New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram

Ingram suspended without pay for first four games of 2018

Editor's note: this story was updated Wednesday morning with a statement from VIP Sports Management's general counsel David. W. Jones.

The NFL released this statement Tuesday afternoon:

"Mark Ingram II of the New Orleans Saints has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

"Ingram will be eligible to return to the Saints' active roster on Monday, October 1 following the team's September 30 game against the New York Giants.

"Ingram is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games."

Ingram, a former Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama, was one of the team's first-round draft picks in 2011 and led the team in rushing in 2017 with 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was voted onto the Pro Bowl for the second time last season. Ingram will be eligible to play Oct. 8 when the Saints play host to the Washington Redskins on "Monday Night Football."

On Wednesday VIP Sports Management general counsel David W. Jones issued the following statement:

"At the end of the 2017 season, as a result of a NFL mandated random drug test, Mark Ingram tested positive for a substance that was not a performance enhancing substance, nor an illegal substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL. He has vigorously challenged the test results through the arbitration process. The arbitrator's opinion is due on or before Wednesday, May 16. Upon having the opportunity to review the arbitrator's opinion, we will explore what further options are needed."

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