After the NFL suspended Houston Texans punter Brett Hartmann for violating its performance-enhancing drug policy, the league has given him permission to use the very substance he was penalized for using.
Hartmann told KRIV-TV in Houston that he will serve a three-game suspension for taking Ritalin, a medication that addresses attention deficit disorder.
"It was just for ADD medicine, but now I have approval to take it from our doctors and the NFL doctors," Hartmann said this week. "I just made a mistake. Should have got that approved before. Just got to move on. Serve the three-game suspension."
Hartmann was initially suspended for four games. He appealed his case and expected the league to wipe his slate clean, but the suspension was only reduced by a single game. The lone upside for the second-year kicker: he'll have additional time to heal from knee surgery following a Week 12 injury that ended his rookie campaign. Veteran punter Donnie Jones was signed by the Texans to account for Hartmann's suspension.
"It's disappointing because it's kind of hard to sit here and wait on a punter that's got a suspension," coach Gary Kubiak told the TV station. "We got to put a team together, but it is what it is. (Hartmann's) worked hard to come back from his knee injury."