If an agreement between the NFL Players Association and the league can be reached before the league's first full slate of games on Sunday, the NFL's drug testing policy could be amended to lessen penalties for recreational drugs, as well as include blood-testing for Human Growth Hormone. And that's good news for the Cowboys.
Testing for HGH was first agreed to as part of the 2011 labor deal, but the league and union have failed to agree on the details of how the tests would be conducted to this point. Testing for HGH, which is on the league's banned substance list, is important. HGH is clearly a performance enhancer and can be dangerous for those who use it. It's not the juiciest part of the potential agreement, though.
As first reported by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio and The Washington Post's Mike Maske, mandated suspensions given to players based on the old policy could be modified, or even cancelled by the proposed changes.
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Browns receiver Josh Gordon, who led the league in receiving yards last year despite being suspended for 2013's first two games, stands to benefit the most from the proposed changes, should they be retroactively applied. The Houston native and Baylor product is slated to miss the entire 2014 season serving a suspension resulting from a dubiously positive marijuana test. The amount of marijuana measured in Gordon's sample was about 10 percent of the amount required for a positive test under the World Anti-Doping Agency standards. The NFL's standard would align with those under the new policy.
Locally, Orlando Scandrick might see his four-game, season-opening suspension wiped out. Early in the preseason, Scandrick, who might be the Cowboys' best defensive player, tested positive early in the preseason for amphetamine, apparently because he took street ecstasy (which has lots of crap in it) instead of pure MDMA, or "Molly." Under the current policy, amphetamines are classified as a performance enhancer rather than a drug of abuse, necessitating a suspension after a player's first positive test. The new policy would place amphetamines in the same category as its recreational drug siblings.
Unfair Park realizes it could be a coincidence, but we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that the rush to change a policy that's been backwards since it was put in place started when everyone's favorite scrappy possession receiver, Wes Welker, was busted in essentially the same circumstances as Scandrick.