NFL sacks champion Robert Mathis made one thing clear Wednesday: He’s coming back this season as a motivated man.
In his first public comments since learning he would sit out the season’s first four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy, Mathis was his usually blunt self after speaking to his Colts teammates.
‘‘I told them I'm sorry, and I'll be back,’’ Mathis said.
Last week, he explained in a statement that the substance, Clomid, was found in a fertility medication he was temporarily using. His wife is now pregnant.
But Clomid also can be used as a masking agent for other PED treatments, and Mathis acknowledged the mistake he made was not checking with the NFL or the NFL Players Association to determine if the medicine could cause a positive drug test.
Some contend the explanation for making such a big jump in sacks, from eight in 2012 to a league-high 19½ at age 32, can be linked to PEDs. Mathis denied any such connection in a statement late last week. He reiterated that position Wednesday.
‘‘Let them say what they may,’’ Mathis said. ‘‘In my heart of hearts, I know what it is and what it is not.’’
No Hoyer paranoia
Unlike most Clevelanders, Brian Hoyer didn’t jump up and down or cheer when he heard the Browns drafted Johnny Manziel.
Hoyer shrugged and got ready to fight for his job.
‘‘It was almost a sense of relief when he was drafted,’’ he said, ‘‘because I knew exactly right then and there what it was going to be.’’
It’s going to be a quarterback battle unlike anything Cleveland has seen before.
Hoyer, the hometown kid and incumbent starter, and Manziel — the college football superstar with the larger-than-life persona, catchy nickname and Heisman Trophy — were on the field together Wednesday, the second day of organized team activities.
With roughly 60 media members lining the fields and focused on the two QBs’ every move, Hoyer and Manziel went through passing drills and took turns behind center in a competition expected to last several months.
Afterward, Hoyer said he and Manziel are developing a ‘‘working relationship’’ and joked the pair are getting along splendidly.
The Browns are expecting Manziel to challenge Hoyer, who is coming off right knee surgery. The team has made it clear that Hoyer is the starter and will remain so unless Manziel can beat him out.
Manziel did not speak to reporters after practice, but several Browns players were asked about their famous new teammate, the scrambling magician known as Johnny Football.
So far, Manziel has kept his head buried in his playbook.
‘‘Johnny has done a good job of being a rookie, keeping his mouth shut,’’ Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said. ‘‘Rookies are supposed to be seen and not heard, which is what he’s done.’’
Cleveland’s Pro Bowl receiver, Josh Gordon, practiced as he awaits a possible league suspension. Gordon declined to comment.
Signs of times
The Raiders signed second-round pick Derek Carr to a four-year contract. The quarterback is the fifth of Oakland’s eight draft picks to sign a rookie contract. Carr was picked 36th overall and comes to Oakland as a backup to starter Matt Schaub . . . The Chiefs signed quarterback Aaron Murray, their fifth-round pick, leaving only first-round pick Dee Ford among their unsigned players from this year’s draft . . . The Jaguars signed cornerback Aaron Colvin, a fourth-round draft pick from Oklahoma, to a four-year contract worth $2.67 million . . . The Cardinals signed three draft picks — quarterback Logan Thomas, defensive lineman Ed Stinson, and wide receiver Walt Powell . . . The Falcons reached contract agreements with their first two picks, offensive tackle Jake Matthews (sixth overall) and defensive end Ra'Shede Hageman (second-round).