NFL Still Faces Hurdles In HGH Testing Despite Players' Support For New Study
The NFL "still appears to be a ways off" from joining MLB as the only pro sports league to test for HGH, "despite the proclamations by the NFL and NFLPA," according to Ben Volin of the BOSTON GLOBE. The only "real step taken last week, and it has yet to be finalized, is the NFLPA told players to be prepared to give blood samples this training camp for a baseline study." Once HGH levels among NFL players are established in a population study, the league can then, "in theory, develop a standard in which a player is deemed to have too much growth hormone in his system." But Patriots WR and union rep Matthew Slater last week said some of the details "are not finalized yet." Volin noted the players "haven’t been asked to give the blood samples, although players do give blood during their preseason physicals" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/28). Rams C and union rep Scott Wells was among many on the team who said that they "would welcome" HGH testing, "as long as a suitable test is found." Wells: "Anything that will eliminate guys from cheating, I’m all for it. My understanding right now is they’re still trying to find a baseline for each individual’s human growth hormone level and until that’s established, it’s really hard to test what is an excessive amount." He added, "I think the one thing players are concerned about is to make sure everything is consistent. But overall the idea of (testing) is a good thing, trying to keep this thing as clean as possible" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/27).
FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: Bears TE Martellus Bennett said, "The NFL should test guys. Guys are cheating and they don't need to be cheating." Bears G Matt Slauson said, "I've been suspicious of players on other teams and even on the team I was a part of in college and the pros. It is part of the game. I don't have a problem with testing as long as it is done the correct way. One of the main concerns is testing accurately. If they can find a way to do that, I am all for it" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/29). Panthers QB Cam Newton: "Whatever the NFL decides to do I'm all for it, whether HGH testing or any testing. I'll be prepared to do the test." Panthers TE Greg Olsen said, "I don't think we want to go down the road that baseball's got themselves in, trying to play catch-up." But he added, "You don't want someone showing up at your door with a needle to withdraw blood, so I do understand the PA's point on that" (AP, 7/27). Chargers LB Dwight Freeney: "I like an even playing field, so do it all. Make it Olympic-system testing for all I care because it evens the playing field. Whatever it is you've got to do, just do it ... and make it as strict as possible" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/26). Steelers S Troy Polamalu said, "I'm absolutely in favor of HGH testing" (USATODAY.com, 7/27). Vikings RB Adrian Peterson: "I like it. I love it. To be honest with you, I’ve been hoping that they did this a long time ago" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 7/26).