While the stop-and-start nature of the league’s negotiation with the NFLPA on the agreed-upon need for HGH testing has created skepticism about when it will ever be implemented, there seems to be genuine movement this time.
After this morning’s report that progress was being made on the issue, some concrete steps are being put into place to make it a reality.
“We are in active discussions with the NFLPA regarding the implementation of HGH testing for NFL players,” the league said in a statement provided to PFT. “Those discussions are focused on a full resolution of any remaining issues, including the role of a population study.”
That population study will come in the form of blood tests that players are soon to be asked to provide.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the union sent an email to its players this month telling them they’d be asked to give blood samples during pre-training camp physicals.
Those results will form the basis of the population study, and what a “normal” level of HGH would be.
“The blood sample from each player will immediately be sent to the laboratory for analysis only for the purpose of the HGH population study; no other use will be made of any blood sample,” the union email read. “After the laboratory has processed all player blood samples, the scientists will perform the calculations and analysis necessary to determine the proper decision limit for NFL players.”
The union has contended that players might have a higher natural level of HGH than the rest of us. And basing any potential punishments on a “normal” level found by the population study allows for the number to be skewed by those using now.
Again, all the signs at the moment are positive.
But after so many false starts, it’s reasonable to wonder when the two sides will ever get close enough on this issue that it will ever have teeth.