Last week the NFL and its players union agreed on new policies pertaining to drug screening and DUI's. What this means is many players will be able to return from suspension early such as Wes Welker who suited up week 4 and Josh Gordon whose suspension goes from 16 games to 10 games.
The biggest bombshell is that HGH (human growth hormone) testing will begin for the 2014 season for the first time. Before we take a look at the new policies lets first go over how testing is done. A player in the NFL is given a 2 day notice that they will need to appear at a NFL approved facility, this notice can happen year round with the exception of on game day. Since HGH takes 1-3 days to be detectable this may be a risk a player is willing to take. Also, only 6 players a week per team are tested randomly, so a player might be tested multiple times per year (up to 6 times) or may be tested only once which is the minimum. Since each team has 63 men on their roster during the season (53+10 practice squad), this means you have only a 10% chance of being chosen and on average would be tested once every 10 weeks.
- The first violation of the PED policy will result in a suspension without pay for up to 6 games depending on the substance. Diuretics or masking agents are 2 games, steroids, stimulants or HGH are 4 games. Evidence that there was tampering is 6 games.
- A second violation will get a player a 10 game suspension and a third is up to 2 years.
- During the offseason players who test positive for stimulants go into a program.
- It will still be possible to use suspension and non-estered anabolic steroids to skirt these new rules as they are undetectable after 2 days, HGH will be risky as players will have to be smart about their use to avoid being caught.
- As far a recreational drugs, a first offense gets you into the drug program, from there, punishments get worse until the 6th offense, where you get a 1 year suspension.