Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

HGH tests set for next step forward

The NFL Players Association "tentatively agreed" to let the league take 40 blood samples for HGH tests each week during the season, with a positive result drawing a four-game suspension, according to a memo the union sent players.

A copy of the NFLPA's email, written in a question-and-answer format, was obtained Tuesday by the Associated Press.

The memo says "a computer program will randomly select" five players apiece from eight teams each week for the tests.

First, though, every player in training camps this year will provide a blood sample and information about "height, weight, age, and race/ethnicity" for a "population study" to determine what level of HGH will result in penalties, the union wrote.

The NFLPA's letter says that if more than 5 percent of all training camp samples are above that threshold, players who fail will have "reasonable cause" testing the next two seasons — meaning they'll be subject to additional testing, and an eight-game ban if they're caught again.

No date has been set for the start of testing, because there are still issues that need to be negotiated between the NFL and union. League spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to comment on any specifics in the union memo, telling AP in an email: "We do not have yet a comprehensive agreement for HGH testing."

BRONCOS: Pro personnel director Tom Heckert, one of the team's two suspended executives, can return to work Thursday. Director of player personnel Matt Russell is suspended indefinitely. Both were arrested and jailed on suspicion of drunken driving in separate incidents within a month this summer.

CHARGERS: An MRI exam Monday evening revealed a strained knee for receiver Malcom Floyd, who was hurt when he collided with cornerback Shareece Wright during practice. Floyd said his status was "day by day."

CHIEFS: Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles had his right foot examined by two orthopedic surgeons and they confirmed the team's diagnosis of a mild strain.

COLTS: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw and linebacker Pat Angerer were activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list. Angerer practiced; Bradshaw's return date was unknown. Tight end Coby Fleener sat out practice with a concussion.

COWBOYS: The team formally announced a deal, reported Monday, to move from Irving to Frisco for a $115 million development that includes an indoor stadium for practice and use by area high school teams. The multi-use sports facilities are expected to open in 2016.

GIANTS: Despite spraining his right ankle "pretty good," safety Antrel Rolle expects to be ready for the regular-season opener against Dallas. The team didn't have a timetable for the former Miami star's return.

REDSKINS: QB Robert Griffin III said "there is no conflict" between him and coach Mike Shanahan a day after the two publicly differed on RG3's timetable to return coming off of knee surgery. "Coaches coach. I'm the player. Coach has a plan, and I'm abiding by that plan," Griffin said. … Safety Phillip Thomas, a fourth-round draft pick out of Fresno State, will miss his rookie season after tearing the Lisfranc ligament in his left foot.

STEELERS: Receiver Plaxico Burress went on injured reserve, likely ending his season, a day after surgery to repair a torn right rotator cuff. Burress also turned 36 on Monday.

Perfect fete: The Miami team that had the only perfect season in NFL history will be honored by the White House on Tuesday, more than 40 years later. President Obama will welcome the 1972 Dolphins for the first White House ceremony honoring the only 17-0 team. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula plans to come. The '72 Dolphins didn't make it to the White House in the months after their Super Bowl victory because President Nixon — a big sports fan — was immersed in the Watergate scandal.

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