NFL starts random HGH testing of players

The NFL begins its HGH testing this week.
(Associated Press)

The NFL on Monday began its program to test players for human growth hormone.

Each week, five randomly selected players on each of eight randomly selected teams will be blood tested for HGH as part of the standard weekly collection process in the league’s performance-enhancing-drug program. The testing pool consists of players on each team’s active roster, practice squad and reserve list who are not already subject to reasonable-cause testing.

The league will conduct a combined 950 tests during the regular season and postseason and approximately 385 during the off-season. By comparison, Major League Baseball conducts 400 HGH tests year-round.

Appeals of positive tests under the performance-enhancing-drug policy, including those for HGH, will be heard by a third-party arbitrator whom league and union officials will choose jointly.

For steroid/HGH violations other than a positive test, such as a conviction for possession of controlled substances, Commissioner Roger Goodell retains disciplinary authority.

Under the league’s new DUI rules, a first conviction would result in a minimum suspension without pay of two games. A more lengthy suspension can be imposed when there are aggravating circumstances such as personal injury or property damage, or in cases of repeat offenders.