Federal Steroid Case Cites 2 NFL Players
In the first case involving professional athletes since the Anabolic Steroid Control Act was implemented two years ago, federal agents announced indictments against two NFL players Wednesday in Atlanta.
Eric Moore, an offensive guard with the New York Giants, and Mark Duckens, a defensive end with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were charged by a federal grand jury with three counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids and human growth hormones.
Authorities said Moore and Duckens were part of an Atlanta-based distribution group that functioned on an international scale. Whether the investigation would include other NFL players was not known.
“We’re not prepared to say definitely that (Moore and Duckens) were distributing to other individuals in the NFL, although that is a possibility,” said Joe Sullivan, assistant special agent in charge of the Atlanta field division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Sullivan would not say whether either player provided authorities with information on use in the NFL.
Indictments were handed up on Jan. 5, and both players came to Atlanta on Tuesday for arraignment. Both pleaded not guilty and were released on $10,000 recognizance bonds.
Federal agents have investigated the steroid ring since last spring, authorities said. They said indictments against Moore and Duckens are only a portion of the investigation.
Jay Moyer, NFL executive vice president and league counsel, said he was disheartened and frustrated by the charges in a year when no roster player has tested positive for performance-enhancing substances.
“But (I am) realistic enough to know that there will always be problems,” he said of steroid abuse within the league.
“We’re not naive enough to believe that we are 100% problem-free or that we can expect to be that way as the days go by.”
Moore, 27, was the Giants’ top draft choice in 1988 after playing at Indiana. At 6 feet 5 and 290 pounds, he was a mainstay on the Giants’ offensive line, but asked to be traded this year. He earned a degree in general studies and criminal justice.
Duckens, 27, signed with the Giants in 1989 as a free agent. He played with the Detroit Lions in 1990 and with Tampa Bay the last two seasons. He played in five games this season, starting three. But his contract ends Feb. 1, and he was not expected to be re-signed.
Duckens, 6-4, 270, played for three years at Wichita State and finished his collegiate career at Arizona State when Wichita dropped football.
A friend of Duckens, an NFL starter who asked not to be identified, said he was surprised by the indictment. “Mark was the kind of guy we couldn’t even get into the weight room,” he said.
Although neither Moore nor Duckens is a big-name player, federal agents hope that the indictments will discourage athletes from possessing anabolic steroids, which until two years ago were not monitored by the DEA.
“It’s not simply a case of NFL security people monitoring the usage of steroids in professional football,” Sullivan said. “But rather, you have the premier narcotic enforcement agency in the world looking and investigating. This casts an entirely different shadow on the use of steroids.
“Perhaps the message will go out to high schools and colleges (that) it’s no longer just harming your body, but rather you are entering into the criminal sphere.”