In the wake of all the off the field issues in the past two weeks, the NFL has made some more changes to their league.
A new drug policy has been agreed upon by the league and the players’ union which includes a higher threshold for marijuana testing and HGH testing for players.
The agreement means that the Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams, and Dallas Cowboys will be able to play their formerly suspended players (Wes Welker, Stedmon Bailey, and Orlando Scandrick, respectively). As for other players they will need to serve reduced suspensions for this season as the policy is being implemented immediately. So that mean Cleveland Browns’ fans will have to wait 10 games for their explosive receiver, Josh Gordon to return.
Loose Ends for Gordon
Of course of all NFL players who have been involved in drug related issues this season, Cleveland’s Josh Gordon has been the most high profile of the bunch. This is mainly due to his receiving of a year-long suspension from the league (prior to this new agreement) for violating the substance-abuse policy for a third time.
The good news for Browns fans is that he will definitely play this year; the bad news is that because it is his third time testing for marijuana that came back positive he will have to wait 10 games. The league’s leading receiver also escaped an additional suspension for a DWI from two months ago by pleading guilty just before the policy deadline meaning he will still only be out for the 10 games.
The loophole doesn’t look good for the NFL that just seems to find ways to look worse by the day and is dealing with a number of domestic violence cases.
In addition to the players being reinstated, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to Performance Enhancing Drug testing.
The main focus has been HGH testing which will be in full effect by the end of the month and will carry on through the entire season.
NFL.com’s Albert Breer has announced that there will be around 20 players that are affected by the enforcement of the new policy. Breer goes on to add that “the public won't learn of all the players who are affected by the new policy. Some of the players who had entered into the early stages of the program will simply be taken back a step.”
Players involved in the early steps of the program are typically kept confidential.
To sum it all up, the policy will help those 20 players who are currently involved the drug program and will initiate Human Growth Hormone testing (something that Front Offices have been requesting for a while). But one can’t help but feel that even this agreement is under pressure due to the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and other domestic abuse cases.