NFL, Union Meet to Discuss Drug Tests

Thursday, September 21st 2006, 3:36 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met Thursday with union chief Gene Upshaw and a group of other league and union officials on a range of issues, including the possibility of expanding testing for performance-enhancing drugs.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said nothing definitive would come out of the session, one of the first formal meetings of its kind since Goodell took over three weeks ago from Paul Tagliabue.

The meeting has been scheduled for a while to work out details of the extension to the labor agreement, arrived at last March in Dallas. Goodell, as the NFL's chief operating officer under Tagliabue, was the league's main contact with Upshaw during those negotiations.

But it also includes such subjects as putting a team in Los Angeles _ Goodell was the league's point man on that issue before becoming commissioner _ and expanded testing for steroids and other performance-enhancing substances, such as human growth hormone.

``There was a wide-ranging CBA follow-up meeting today involving several people and many issues, including the drug program,'' Aiello said in a statement. ``Those meetings will continue.''

``No announcements,'' Upshaw said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

The HGH issue became more urgent in the last month after the Charlotte Observer ran details of medical records produced in court for the trial of Dr. James Shortt. Shortt, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after prescribing steroids and human growth hormone for several Carolina Panthers in 2002. They went to the Super Bowl after the 2003 season.

More recently, Washington offensive tackle Jon Jansen said on HBO he believes ``perhaps 15, 20 percent'' of NFL players use HGH, human growth hormone. Jansen later backed off that figure.

The league currently tests seven players per team per week on a random basis for performance-enhancing drugs. It has asked the union to consider more and Upshaw, after first balking, has indicated he would be amenable to additional tests.