4 Players Suspended for Using Banned Steroids : 'Fewer Than 2 Dozen' to Miss 4 Games as Result of NFL Testing for Strength-Enhancing Drug

From Associated Press

Maurice Douglass, a backup defensive back for the Chicago Bears; a Green Bay offensive lineman, and two New York Jets were among the NFL players suspended for four games today for using steroids.

In addition to Douglass, whose suspension was announced by the Bears, sources confirmed that offensive tackle Mike Ariey of Green Bay and running back Vince Amoia and wide receiver Bobby Riley of the Jets were also among those suspended.

They will miss the final exhibition game and the first three regular season games in the NFL's first-ever crackdown on the strength-enhancing drugs.

Delayed by Suit

The NFL, which planned to release the names Monday, delayed it by a day because its union filed suit to stop the suspensions.

Within minutes of hearing that a federal judge in Washington had given it the go-ahead, however, the league gave its teams the names of the players who had tested positive during training camp. The names were to be released at noon Eastern time today, but the NFL said all the players had not yet been notified and delayed the announcement.

The Bears said Douglass, who has been with the team for four years and works as an exotic dancer in the off-season, had tested positive. He had no comment to reporters at the team's camp.

Ariey was a "Plan B" free agent who played for the New York Giants last year, and Riley and Amoia were first-year free agents with the Jets.

Some teams said they had not been notified of any suspensions, indicating that they had no players on the list. Among them were the Giants, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers.

The suspensions followed Monday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, who declined to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the league from implementing the suspension plan.

League spokesman Joe Browne declined to say exactly how many players under contract tested positive, but he did say "fewer than two dozen" were involved. Browne also said an unspecified number of other players among the 2,300 tested at training camps had tested positive but had already been cut by their teams.

Teams were required to reduce rosters to 60 players by today and to the regular season limit of 47 by next Monday.

Announced in March

The steroid testing plan stems from an announcement March 21 by Commissioner Pete Rozelle in which he said that any player testing positive for steroids or agents used to mask them would be given the same treatment as anyone testing positive for illegal substances: a four-game suspension.

The NFL Players Assn. went before Hogan on Monday, saying that releasing the names would damage the reputations of the players. It also claimed that the procedures under which 2,300 players were tested were "sloppy and unreliable."

But Hogan refused to grant the request, saying all players had been given ample warning that they would be disciplined for using steroids. He also said the union failed to show how its members would face irreparable harm under the league's plan.

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