NASHVILLE – Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is facing a four-game suspension from the NFL, and on Thursday he apologized to his teammates, fans and the organization on the first day of training camp.
"It's a really horrible situation to feel like this, and to walk into the locker room and tell those guys you're not going to be with them for four games – it breaks my heart," Lewan said. "It's tough, man. But I've been very candid with Jon (Robinson) and (Mike) Vrabel and Amy (Adams Strunk) and told them right away.
"I don't want the legacy, or whatever I have done in the last five years, to be tarnished because of this, because of something like this, that was a complete accident that I'm going to try and make up for."
Lewan plans to appeal his suspension for violating the league's policy against performance-enhancing substances.
"I didn't take anything knowingly," Lewan said. "I know what the policy is, and I know people have their split opinions on it, but I've never done anything knowingly that would cheat the game."
Lewan posted a video on Wednesday and said he received a letter from the NFL a few weeks ago saying he'd failed a drug test for ostarine.
At a press conference on Thursday, he spoke to reporters in more detail about the pending suspension, and how he got to this point with the NFL. While claiming he's innocent, the three-time Pro Bowler is faced with the real possibility he'll miss the first four games of the season.
"It's going to kill me," Lewan said. "It's going to be a horrible situation to sit there on Sundays and have to watch on a TV. To come to a facility that I've been coming to for five, knowing that I am not allowed to come in. It's going to break my heart. It breaks my heart now just talking about it.
"But now is no longer the time to feel sorry for myself. It is to make sure that people know the truth, and people know where I was coming from. I never meant any ill intention by this, and I am taking full responsibility for the suspension. … I am not running from anything. But it is going to absolutely kill me to know that I won't be out there to help the boys out. If there is a loss, you're always going to wonder: 'Is there something I could have done?' That's a heartbreaking thing."
Titans coach Mike Vrabel and GM Jon Robison said they'll prepare to start the season without Lewan, who said he plans to do his part to help his teammates get ready. Lewan can participate in training camp, but as things stand now, he'll be required to leave the team the first four weeks of the season.
Lewan said his teammates have been "incredibly supportive."
"My goal in this training camp is to do whatever I can to help the tackles get ready for Week One – that's the most important thing," Lewan said. "This whole thing is not about me. It's about the team and me helping out as much as I can to make sure it's a smooth transition. The main thing for me is to get ready to play in Week 5."
TitansOnline.com looks back at offensive tackle Taylor Lewan's Pro Bowl season in 2018. (AP Photos)