The Carolina Panthers will be a man short on defense heading down the home stretch after Charles Johnson was suspended four games Friday. The 31-year-old was hit with the four-game ban for violating the policy on performance enhancing substances.
Johnson accepted full responsibility, conveying his apology via a statement on the team’s website.
“I accept full responsibility,” Johnson said. “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.”
Once a dominant force on the edge, Johnson has been relegated to spot duty this year. He has 16 combined tackles to his credit through 11 games and hasn’t tallied a single sack. Over the course of his career, the veteran pass rusher has racked up double-digit sack totals three times and has 67.5 sacks in total during his 10-plus year career.
Carolina also might be without Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, depending on how they practice Saturday.