The NFL Players Assn. has told its members that the union “tentatively agreed” that 40 players will take blood tests for human growth hormone each week during the season, with a positive result drawing a four-game suspension.
The NFLPA emailed players a memo in question-and-answer format Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained a copy.
According to the email, players participating in NFL training camps this year will provide a blood sample for a “population study” to determine what level of HGH will result in penalties.
Although Tuesday’s memo says owners and players “will likely finalize soon” the in-season weekly HGH testing, the union does not indicate what the NFL has agreed to — or give specifics about what stands in the way. A league spokesman declined to comment on the union’s memo.
Arizona Coach Bruce Arians said that rookie Tyrann Mathieu will start at free safety in place of injured Rashad Johnson when the Cardinals play the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.
In his NFL debut in Arizona’s 17-0 victory at Green Bay last week, Mathieu had a 12-yard sack, a tackle for loss, a pass defended, two special-teams tackles and a 24-yard punt return.
Washington Redskins safety Phillip Thomas will sit out his rookie season because of a foot injury.
Coach Mike Shanahan said that the fourth-round pick from Fresno State will have surgery on a torn ligament in the left foot and will require four to five months of recovery.
The Pittsburgh Steelers put wide receiver Plaxico Burress on the injured reserve list, probably ending his season.
Burress had surgery Monday to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
Sharapova loses in second round
Maria Sharapova’s return to WTA tournament play after more than a month away was short-lived because of an upset loss to 17th-ranked American Sloane Stephens, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3, in the second round of the Western & Southern Open at Mason, Ohio.
In a match that lasted 2 hours 22 minutes, Stephens overcame double faults on two match points to pick up her first victory over Sharapova in four meetings.
Jimmy Connors, who won the tournament 41 years ago, watched from the stands in his first match as Sharapova’s coach.
Yelena Isinbayeva won the gold medal in the pole vault at the track and field world championships, delighting the home crowd in Moscow with her third world title.
The Russian cleared 16 feet and a half-inch. She was followed by Olympic champion Jenn Suhr of the United States and Yarisley Silva of Cuba. The silver and bronze medalists both had heights of 15-93/4.
In the heptathlon, Brianne Theisen Eaton of Canada failed to sufficiently shake Ganna Melnichenko in the final 800-meter race and finished with a silver medal two days after husband Ashton Eaton won the decathlon.
Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has a small fracture in his right pinkie and will need surgery, putting his status for the Huskies’ season opener in doubt.
Last season, Seferian-Jenkins caught 69 passes for 850 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Portland Trail Blazers announced a 10-year agreement with insurance provider Moda Health to rename the Rose Garden the Moda Center.