NFL players ratified a new, 10-year collective bargaining agreement Thursday, hours after it was finalized, and two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract allows the NFL to become the first major U.S. professional sports league to use blood testing for human growth hormone.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made about the details of the CBA.
Players eventually would be subject to random testing for HGH, in addition to annual checks — as is the case for all banned substances in the league’s drug-testing program — only after the union is confident in the way the testing and appeals process will work.
The aim is to have everything worked out in time to start HGH testing by Week 1 of the regular season, but that is not guaranteed.
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“We have to see if we agree with the test,” Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said. “If we agree with the test, then it’s legit. If not, they have to come up with another one.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith will sign the CBA at the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, this morning. That’s where the only game canceled by the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987 was supposed to be played Sunday between the Bears and Rams.
EAGLES PATTERSON HAS BRAIN CONDITION
Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said defensive tackle Mike Patterson has a brain condition that could require surgery. Burkholder said Thursday that Patterson is undergoing further tests.
The 27-year-old Patterson was hospitalized after suffering a seizure Wednesday morning at training camp at Lehigh University.
“We’re pretty sure it was not football related,” Burkholder said.
“We’re going to take Mike to a fourth specialist to get an opinion, Patterson’s agent, J.R. Rickert, said. “After we get that opinion, Mike and Bianca (his wife) will get together and make a decision about the best course of action based on which opinion they want to follow.”
Burkholder wouldn’t discuss treatment options.
Wide receiver Plaxico Burress tweaked his left ankle running routes Wednesday. … The Chargers and first-round draft pick Corey Liuget, a defensive lineman, have agreed to terms of a four-year contract. … Wide receiver Braylon Edwards has agreed to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. … The civil sexual assault case against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be tried in Reno, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in an order rejecting an appeal by the NFL star. … Kyle Orton continues to practice exclusively with the first team at Denver’s training camp, while backup Tim Tebow, the anticipated challenger for the starting job, has yet to run a single play behind the No. 1 offensive line.