The 2011 NFL league year has finally arrived after players ratified a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement on Thursday evening. This marks the end of a long labor battle and it makes a big change to the leagues drug testing policy.
The NFL will become the first major sports league that tests blood for human growth hormone. The players still need to iron out the final details, including who will be doing the testing. Pending final approval by the players union, the NFL will be able to test each player annually for HGH.
“Everyone in the game has championed, making sure drugs aren’t involved in the game. So we are finding our way through this. It hasn’t been easy, just understanding all the in’s and out’s of it, and the company that’s going to deal with all those things. So there is still consideration, but, again, I think players are happy with where we are,” said Colts Center Jeff Saturday.
“The goal is to begin testing for HGH the first week of the regular season,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. “Over the next several weeks, we will discuss and develop with the union the specific arrangements for the test.”
Now that the CBA has been approved that also means the Colts will be at full force, the rule was those who resigned or were picked up in free agency after July 26th were not able to practice until the league year began.
For the Horseshoes that means a number of veteran’s will finally be able to work out with their team, including running back Joseph Addai, kicker Adam Vinatieri and safety Melvin Bullitt who all signed a new deal.
“I thought it worked out pretty well for some of the younger guys to get the opportunity to get the number of reps that they received. I think some of them took advantage of that. Now obviously that’s going to change a bit, we’re going to get some pretty seasoned veterans back out at certain positions therefore their numbers are going to be cut down drastically, but it will be a great infusion of enthusiasm because they’re chomping at the big to get out there,” said Head Coach Jim Caldwell.
The Colts free agent acquisitions need to get into the swing of things maybe a little more than the vets. The Horseshoes snagged three former first round draft picks out of the free agency market this week, including former Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris. The three-time Pro Bowler has dealt with knee injuries the past few seasons but says he’s feeling healthy. One thing we do know, it should be a fairly easy transition for Harris because the Bears run the same defensive scheme as the Colts, the 4-3.
“I was just in New England the day before and I wanted to come to a place where guys get up field and rush. You know, New England is more for the bigger lineman. The Colts are a read and react type of defense so this is just a change in uniform,” said Harris.
The Colts have a double header scheduled for tomorrow at Anderson University; they’re holding a 9:30 a.m. practice in shorts and shirts followed by an afternoon session at 3:30 p.m.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times