The NFL and NFLPA yesterday "finalized the arrangements for an upcoming HGH population study," according to Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK. A source said "some progress" was made regarding full-blown HGH testing. It is "unclear how much more progress will be required to get HGH testing in place" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 7/24). Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald said, "I'm not big on blood testing. But it's something that needs to be done to make sure that our game is fair and upholds the integrity that we all want it too." Fitzgerald added that he was "OK with the testing as long as it was done in good faith, although he thought it might be a bit invasive" (NFL.com, 7/24).
INK MASTERS: CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman earlier this week reported the NFL teams "may use police experts to check prospects tattoos" following the Aaron Hernandez situation (TWITTER.com, 7/23). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "If you can find out anything about this athlete, get deeper into his life, why not do it?" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/24). But ESPN's Dan Le Batard said inspecting players' tattoos is "profiling, it is dangerous and sketchy." Le Batard: "But some of the things these NFL teams do (are) dangerous and sketchy. They hire private investigators to follow around draft picks beforehand, so this isn't that far removed from them" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 7/24). CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb called the practice the "dumbest idea” and asked, “Are we really going to go over with a fine-tooth comb every tattoo?” CBSSN's Allie LaForce said, “It does seem a little extensive, but would it really be that big of a deal? When these guys go to the combine they're getting scoped up and down, they're doing physicals, they're getting up and down looks from doctors and experts. Is it that big of a deal if there is one more expert in there who’s just a tattoo expert who can try to look and spot a gang tattoo?” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 7/23). CBS Sports Net's Jim Rome said, "It’s bad enough that teams are grilling 21-year-olds about their mothers working as hookers and whether or not they like girls. Now they might make them explain what every bulldog, spider web, nautical star and piece of scripture mean. The combine is already a circus. Leave a dude’s ink out of it” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 7/24).
CANADA DRY: In Vancouver, Mike Beamish notes with NFL training camps opening this week, a "debate which has stood the test of time is whether the CFL should enter into a more formal arrangement with the NFL and act as a feeder or developmental league." The CFL could become "an attractive destination for college football graduates who needed more polish and would improve the Canadian league's recruitment process, with players knowing they were only one or two good seasons away from a call-up if they performed well in Canada." A CFL-NFL linkage "might be the tipping point in edging CFL salaries higher, especially with NFL money flowing into Canada." Former NFLer and current CFL BC Lions WR Courtney Taylor said, "If it helps raise the salaries in our league, why not? When I was last in the NFL (2009) the minimum was $296,000. Now, it's over $400,000. Oh man, so much money." Taylor thinks that an "alliance between a CFL club and an NFL team(s) would benefit both leagues and especially players marked 'under construction'" (VANCOUVER SUN, 7/25).