NFL sacks champion Robert Mathis has been suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

The league made the announcement Friday.

Mathis set a franchise record with 19 1/2 sacks last season, winning the league title in that category, and he is one of the most respected leaders on the team.

Though Mathis can participate in offseason workouts, training camp and preseason games, he will not be return to the team until Sept. 29.

In a statement, the Colts said they wanted to reassure Mathis that he would remain an ''honored and cherished'' member of the team.