Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) sacks Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015.

ADVOCATE FILE PHOTO BY Matthew Hinton < p>

Kenny Vaccaro said he didn't know taking Adderall was against NFL rules, and he simply wanted to be "up and alert" for his brother's early-morning game before he failed a drug test earlier this season.

Vaccaro was suspended four games by the NFL after the test, and Vaccaro went into detail during an interview with ESPN on why he took the banned substance. The penalty was announced on Nov. 10.

"To be honest, I just made a mistake," Vaccaro said in the interview, adding that he took it during the bye weekend (Week 5) before watching Texas, and his brother Kevin, play against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.

"I was just tired and I really wasn't aware of the whole rule thing ... I never took it before," Vaccaro said in the interview. "I just did it, and it was just a dumb mistake by me, to be honest. And then I came back in Monday and had a random PED test. But that's the rules, and I take full responsibility."

Vaccaro said his teammates have continued to support him through the suspension. Vaccarro, who finished the season with 68 total tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles (one recovery), initially appealed the suspension but served the four-game penalty over the final month of the season. 

The Saints went 2-2 over the final four games, finishing the season 7-9 for their third straight year with a sub-.500 record.

"I was really hurt because I felt like we could've made a run, and I feel like I really could've helped the team in a lot of ways," Vaccaro said to ESPN. 

Vaccaro went on to discuss the Saints' recent firing of five assistants, including long-time coach Joe Vitt.


For the full ESPN report, click here.