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Jason Ferguson says he's suspended for a blood-pressure medicine

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jason Ferguson, who has been suspended for the first eight games of the 2010 season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, says the banned substance he took was a medication for high blood pressure.

I’m no cheater,” Ferguson told Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I got in trouble with my blood pressure and I was taking that medication, which I’d been taking for a long time [on and off]. . . . But it ain’t a steroid because even the league will tell you my [urine] wasn’t diluted. It wasn’t nothing that’s going to make me stronger. It’s a blood pressure pill that makes you piss.”

Whatever this medication was, Ferguson acknowledges that he took it and acknowledges that it’s on the list of banned substances. So he broke NFL rules, and he’s going to suffer the consequences.

What’s particularly surprising about Ferguson’s claim that he simply took the medication without knowing it was banned is that this is Ferguson’s second suspension. In 1999 he was suspended four games for taking what he says was an over-the-counter dietary supplement.

After already being suspended once, you’d think Ferguson would have made absolutely certain that every substance he took was permitted under league rules. So what on earth was he thinking?

“I was being lazy,” Ferguson said, “and I’ll do the time for that.”

Of course, the confidentiality of the drug-testing process means there’s no way for anyone to verify that what Ferguson tested positive for was, in fact, a blood-pressure medicine. And Ferguson says he wishes the league would change that confidentiality policy.

“I just wish the league would be more black and white with the suspension. You let people know we’re suspended, then let them know what happened. Don’t have them speculating,” Ferguson said. “Tell them what it was. The way they put it out is I failed something on the steroid list. I never took any steroids, no pills, or injections. I have high blood pressure and took something that’s on the [banned] list. My mistake is not being aware of what’s on the list.”

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45 Responses to “Jason Ferguson says he's suspended for a blood-pressure medicine”
  1. DanRooney says: May 19, 2010 2:00 PM

    Guilty.

  2. FreeAgentPro says: May 19, 2010 2:03 PM

    Won’t the NFLPA allow the NFL to disclose the banned substance if the player signs a waiver? Or is this another examp0le of a union covering the ass of other cheaters by not allowing the precedent because it will pressure the other cheaters to sign a waiver as well? The NFLPA should not be allowed to posture that it is against cheating when if will not cooperate with honesty about suspensions or blood testing. This is one reason why many fans do not trust the NFLPA’s posturing over a new CBA or anything else.

  3. BigMikeSkinsFan says: May 19, 2010 2:06 PM

    I wonder what the reason a blood pressure medication would be on that list for if it doesnt have steroids in it.
    he was being lazy for sure but if its not helping his performance then why not allow him?

  4. It puts the lotion on the skin says: May 19, 2010 2:06 PM

    Wow, that is a level of lazy that cant be imagined….not even JaWalrus Russel is that lazy…

  5. BenRapistberger says: May 19, 2010 2:07 PM

    Let’s assume Jason Ferguson is being honest. If whatever medicine he took is on the banned list, it’s likely because it can also act as a masking agent. It’s pretty sad that players have to avoid taking perfectly good medicine for potentially fatal health risks simply because the league’s methods for testing PEDs are ineffective under such conditions. There should be a more expansive set of rules for this policy. If you need to take a medicine that can double as a masking agent, instead of avoiding taking it and putting your health on the line, you should have the ability to submit to additional testing during that period (either more frequent or blood testing for example) in order to accurately determine if PEDs are being taken.

  6. franco says: May 19, 2010 2:11 PM

    1. This is his 2nd failed steroid test. How likely is it that someone fails a steroid test twice?
    2. When he failed his 1st test he should have a lot more careful about what he put in his body.
    3. Only the NFL has to maintain confidentiality, not the players. So, Jason Ferguson has complete liberty to discuss the medication he took. That is, if he actually tood a high blood pressure medication.

  7. HarrisonHits says: May 19, 2010 2:13 PM

    One would think the doctors these players get should be aware that they are under the gun for banned substances and find an alternative for them that won’t violate league rules.
    If they don’t already have it the league should issue a list of the banned substances that the players can print out and be required give to their doctors. Then there can be no excuses.

  8. EverybodyGotAIDS says: May 19, 2010 2:14 PM

    “I just wish the league would be more black and white with the suspension. You let people know we’re suspended, then let them know what happened. Don’t have them speculating,” Ferguson said. “Tell them what it was. The way they put it out is I failed something on the steroid list. I never took any steroids, no pills, or injections. I have high blood pressure and took something that’s on the [banned] list. My mistake is not being aware of what’s on the list.”
    ______________________
    LOL yeah, let’s see what he’d be saying if the NFLPA was actually considering such a rule.

  9. huthutHUT says: May 19, 2010 2:14 PM

    Out of curiosity, does the league have a waiver process for such drugs when used for medical necessity?
    In other words, if a player needs a particular drug to treat a condition can their doctor prescribe it without them getting in trouble?

  10. Tikkanen says: May 19, 2010 2:14 PM

    I would be more inclined to believe Jason Ferguson if he didn’t have another failed steroid test in his past.

  11. Rasta says: May 19, 2010 2:19 PM

    Just because a man can play pro football doesn’t mean he has a high IQ give the man a break.

  12. RicanJagFan says: May 19, 2010 2:24 PM

    Sounds like Hydrochlorothiazide.

  13. namhob says: May 19, 2010 2:28 PM

    If a player needs to take a drug that is on the banned list, they are required to have permission from the league to take it. They will fail subsequent drug tests, but the permission from the league will show that they can not be held liable for that particular drug.

  14. Tomcalimontana says: May 19, 2010 2:31 PM

    1. His first failure was 14 years ago when he was with the Jets
    2. Diuretics are banned because they cause you to piss more – diluting all chemicals in the body – that dilution is used in some individuals to mask -that is why it is banned
    3. In addition to high blood pressure, Jason haas a weight clause in his contract that costs him 6 figures if he misses weight.
    4. I must assume that the league allows other diuretics for high blood pressure (but probably less powerful ones) control because high blood pressure is pretty common for these 300 pounders.

  15. The Real Shuxion says: May 19, 2010 2:31 PM

    # Rasta says: May 19, 2010 2:19 PM
    Just because a man can play pro football doesn’t mean he has a high IQ give the man a break.
    ——————————————————
    Usually the opposite go together.
    Ferguson had to also deal with the Rock N’ Roll diabetes.

  16. robert ethen says: May 19, 2010 2:38 PM

    “All these guys getting in my way when I try to get to the quarterback make my blood boil. I just needed a bit of help….”.

  17. Lex Luger says: May 19, 2010 2:42 PM

    He has heart problems. If he didnt take the medication, HE COULD DIE!
    I think the league should give him a pass on this one.

  18. simple_simon1 says: May 19, 2010 2:42 PM

    Note to Cushing….. That’s how you address the public after being suspended for a positive test. You don’t deny, then change stories, then cry about how you fear for your life to get sympathy.

  19. Panda_Claus says: May 19, 2010 2:44 PM

    Tikkannen and Franco, he failed a drug test for having a banned substance in his system.
    Everyone’s so hung up on steroids they are assuming every failed drug test is because of steroids. Not all banned drugs are steroids.

  20. robert ethen says: May 19, 2010 2:46 PM

    “The worry of not being able to get to the QB anymore was causing hypertension. Dr. Galea just gave me some stuff to ease it.”

  21. Thingamajig says: May 19, 2010 2:46 PM

    I’m no doctor but how does peeing lower your blood pressure? I take high blood pressure pills and they don’t make me pee. Plus there’s alot of different high blood pressure medication out there and I’ll bet they all aren’t on the NFL banned substance list. And I doubt he is the only one in the NFL taking high blood pressure medication. Sorry Jason but that sounds like a piss poor excuse.

  22. zod says: May 19, 2010 2:50 PM

    Out of curiosity, does the league have a waiver process for such drugs when used for medical necessity?
    ……………………………………………….
    I believe there is and requires going thru a process.
    It is common to take a diruetic in combination with other drugs to control BP, but you would take them everyday not just once in awhile.

  23. BBrophy1 says: May 19, 2010 2:54 PM

    sounds like he was taking StarCaps! Too bad he doesn’t play in Minnesota and I’m shocked he wouldn’t draw that comparison himself if he was truly taking a diuretic to control his blood pressure (or cut his weight)

  24. GirthyOne says: May 19, 2010 3:05 PM

    My understanding from is that some medications are good masking agents.

  25. JCD says: May 19, 2010 3:10 PM

    Oh please another lame excuse from a football player trying to cheat. These guys have physicals every year. The team doctor would know he had high blood pressure and know what medication he was being prescribed. This loser is not the only player with high blood pressure so there must be plenty of medication out there that is approved by the league and will not make you test positive for PED’s. Just man up and say you got busted, do your time and come back clean. Ugh they treat the fans like idiots and it pisses me off.

  26. JimmyY says: May 19, 2010 3:14 PM

    Right, if you’re taking prescriptive medication, which the team should already know about, and have a doctor’s prescription, a REAL doctor, there’s no way you’d be suspended. Sounds like a pile of crap. If he is in fact taking BP medication then the league needs to find out what causes false positives, make that list and run it through their lab people in order to determine if any of these reasons could cause this level of whatever in the system. If he’s legit then he should appeal and get the suspension revoked. Don’t believe the BS otherwise.

  27. God's Own Silver and Blue says: May 19, 2010 3:18 PM

    Sounds like Hydrochlorothiazide. http://www.scribd.com/doc/14066744/NFL-Banned-Substances
    On Page 13.

  28. cbrianwatkins says: May 19, 2010 3:18 PM

    Thingamajig says:
    May 19, 2010 2:46 PM
    I’m no doctor but how does peeing lower your blood pressure? I take high blood pressure pills and they don’t make me pee. Plus there’s alot of different high blood pressure medication out there and I’ll bet they all aren’t on the NFL banned substance list. And I doubt he is the only one in the NFL taking high blood pressure medication. Sorry Jason but that sounds like a piss poor excuse.
    ————————————————–
    the drug he was taking ……..hydrochlorothiazide………….is desihned to absord salt, salt in the body retains water, thus it makes you piss more often then the normal human being
    interestingly though this would also be used to cut weight
    even more interesting (can’t believe i am actually doing PFT’s job here), is that this drug (hydrochlorothiazide) is also used by people who have taken steroids or estrogen and as a result have Edema.
    Please note, this drug is used by people with Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  29. bbq says: May 19, 2010 3:23 PM

    Don’t think this is a big deal, people just love getting on guys’ cases. Especially after this whole Cushing ordeal.
    So he took a diuretic. It’s obvious to anyone familiar with any type of urinalysis process why certain diuretics would be banned, whether or not they were consumed with the intent of masking the substances REALLY being looked for.
    And so what if he failed before. It was a decade ago.

  30. CE11 says: May 19, 2010 3:25 PM

    It is very possible that he is taking blood pressure medication in addition to steroids– a common side effect of steroid use is high blood pressure.

  31. Tomcalimontana says: May 19, 2010 3:38 PM

    There are 20 diuretics on the banned list I don’t see how some of you are pulling “hydrochlorothiazide” out your collective a##es? It just as easily could have been Lasix (Furosemide)…or any of the other 18 not mentioned.

  32. Bious says: May 19, 2010 4:02 PM

    If it is a legal prescription recommended by a doctor to lower his blood pressure, the NFL must LEGALLY allow it.

  33. Bious says: May 19, 2010 4:05 PM

    If it is a legal prescription recommended by a doctor to lower his blood pressure, the NFL must LEGALLY allow it.

  34. cbrianwatkins says: May 19, 2010 4:05 PM

    Tomcalimontana says:
    May 19, 2010 3:38 PM
    There are 20 diuretics on the banned list I don’t see how some of you are pulling “hydrochlorothiazide” out your collective a##es? It just as easily could have been Lasix (Furosemide)…or any of the other 18 not mentioned.
    ————————————————–
    why dont you connect the dots with the other 18, then connect the dots with Hydro,
    once the dots are connected do the math genius

  35. paleandpasty says: May 19, 2010 4:15 PM

    Florio – I think that Omar is wrong on his report. Armando from the Herald also mentions that he admited to taking diruetics.
    The product the sentinel is publishing has gone down hill after firing Harvey Fialkov. Omar can barely write an article without a typo or poor grammar.

  36. Pacific says: May 19, 2010 4:40 PM

    Maybe it was HEROIN. That has been known to lower blood pressure.

  37. Phil Hernon says: May 19, 2010 5:03 PM

    Steroids can cause high BP……..but high BP would be better contained with Lotrel……..especially for these big guys (athletes)…..this drama is so nonsensical……..legalize PEDs, my god…………come on, everyone does them, we cant stop them nor can we contain them…..

  38. NFLFollower says: May 19, 2010 5:07 PM

    Thiazide diuretics, commonly called “water pills” b/c they make you urinate more frequently, are a 1st line therapy for high blood pressure. Sounds like that’s what he was taking. Diuretics are probably on the banned substance list. Why doesn’t the NFL revise their list or allow for some disgression? A player with high blood pressure has to settle for the 2nd line therapy b/c the diuretic isn’t allowed in the NFL? C’mon.
    And people are pulling hydrochlorothiazide out of their “$%##’s” b/c it’s the number 1 prescribed diuretic for high blood pressure. You don’t prescribe furosemide for high blood pressure. Getting into mechanisms of action and why that is would be a waste of all of our time.

  39. StevieMo says: May 19, 2010 5:15 PM

    Once a steroid user, always a liar.

  40. Deb says: May 19, 2010 6:06 PM

    The NFL needs to distinguish between steroids and masking agents when issuing suspensions. If Ferguson were taking a diuretic solely for his blood-pressure issues, the NFL should have provided a medical exemption and monitored his dosage. Since he apparently has a weight clause in his contract, it’s just as likely that he was taking a super-strong diuretic for weight maintenance as to mask another substance. Either way, diuretics can lead to their own serious health problems. Does the NFL make any effort to educate players on the risks of taking any of these drugs?
    Why are any over-the-counter supplements on the banned-substance list? If you can get it at GNC, what is the problem?

  41. Tomcalimontana says: May 19, 2010 6:49 PM

    If he was taking a diuretic to lose weight as he implied by his comment taking Lasik would have been more effective (stronger) vs. hydrochlorothiazide:
    “I got in trouble with my blood pressure and I was taking that medication, which I’d been taking for a long time [on and off],” said Ferguson
    “I’ve got six figures on my head if I don’t come in on time at the right weight,” Ferguson said, referring to the weight clauses team czar Bill Parcells, who worked in the Jets front office at the time, usually includes in his contracts.

  42. hamspear says: May 19, 2010 6:58 PM

    It is very possible that he is taking blood pressure medication in addition to steroids– a common side effect of steroid use is high blood pressure.
    ————————————————-
    God, are we in Salam, Mass circa 1692??
    You know what else causes high blood pressure?
    Being 300+ lbs you numbnuts…

  43. Pablo says: May 19, 2010 7:12 PM

    There’s plenty of reason to suspect a defensive tackle in the NFL of actually having hypertension (poor diet for one). I’m too lazy to know/look up the policy of the NFL in this situation. Some people have HTN refractory to other medications. Also HCTZ is a FIRST-LINE drug to treat hypertension. If in fact an NFL player had HTN the league would, in my opinion, be putting the players at an increased health risk. I think it would be interesting to note if all these players dying of sudden cardiac arrest had HTN treated by other pharmacologic agents [that don't work as well at decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis and thus sudden cardiac death] so as to avoid a substance on the banned list. Basically, if I were an NFL player with actual essential hypertension, I would want to take the drug that is the best for my health regardless of league rules.

  44. gonuts says: May 19, 2010 8:48 PM

    African Americans have a greater preponderance to have high blood pressure. HCTZ is front line for African Americans and reduces the amount of water in the blood stream, thus reducing a persons blood pressure. IF, this was prescribed for High Blood Pressure, the NFL needs to reevaluate it’s policies.
    Does anyone remember Gaines Adams, who died of an enlarged heart.
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/19/second-autopsy-confirms-that-gaines-adams-had-enlarged-heart/
    Or maybe Norman Hand who died a few days ago?
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/05/17/heart-disease-was-the-cause-of-norman-hands-death/
    HCTZ helps reduce how hard your heart works, thus possibly preventing this exact issue. I’m actually surprised it’s not more prevalent in these guys.

  45. Pablo says: May 20, 2010 12:07 AM

    Completely agree gonuts, that’s what I was getting at. This is going to be one of those issues the NFL won’t address until forced to do so by overwhelming evidence. I’m sure we’re not the first ones to realize the dangers of banning a substance which could save lives in players who need them (ie the same players who are rewarded for weighing over 300 pounds).

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