— The NFL finally will have HGH testing, perhaps as
early as the end of this month.
more immediate impact — this weekend — the new
performance-enhancing drug policy the league and players'
union agreed to Wednesday will allow the Broncos' Wes
Welker and two other suspended players to return to the
Dallas Cowboys defensive back Orlando Scandrick and St.
Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey had been suspended
for four games. All can return Sunday under the new rules
in which players who test positive for banned stimulants
in the offseason will no longer be suspended. Instead,
they will be referred to the substance abuse program.
who test positive for banned stimulants during the season
will continue to get four-game suspensions.
said it was flawed and we got it fixed," said Welker,
who tested positive for amphetamines in the offseason.
"I think you know that just kind of goes to show it
was flawed and it's fixed now and we can move on from
league and union are also nearing an agreement on changes
to the substance abuse policy. That could reduce Cleveland
Browns receiver Josh Gordon's season-long ban.
for HGH was agreed upon in 2011 when a new collective
bargaining agreement ended the lockout of the players. But
the players had balked at the science in the testing and
the appeals process for positive tests. Under the new
deal, appeals of positive tests in the PED program will be
heard by third-party arbitrators jointly selected and paid
for by the NFL and union. Appeals will be processed more
expeditiously under altered procedures.
rules also change the length of suspensions. Previously,
all first-time violations of the performance-enhancing
drug policy resulted in at least a four-game suspension.
of a diuretic or masking agent will result in a two-game
suspension. The punishment for steroids, in-season use of
stimulants, HGH or other banned substances is four games.
Evidence of an attempt to manipulate a test is a six-game
violation will result in a 10-game ban, up from a minimum
of eight games. A third violation is at least a two-year
suspension. Before, the ban was at least a year.
are talking about cleaning up our game and keeping a clean
game," Scandrick said Wednesday. "We are not
cleaning up our game if we are suspending guys for
stimulants and not testing guys for human growth
coach Jeff Fisher said he will use Bailey on special teams
and probably as a wideout.
feels extremely good to be back here," Bailey said.
"The first two weeks it was a dreadful feeling for me
and I'm just happy it's all over now."
Darrell E. Issa and Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman and
ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform, chipped in with their approval of the
new HGH policy sends a clear message to NFL players, as
well as student-athletes at the collegiate, high school,
and youth levels, that HGH and other performance-enhancing
drugs are highly dangerous and will not be tolerated in
athletic competition," they said in a statement.