Broncos receiver Wes Welker is suspended for the first four games of the season, and Browns receiver Josh Gordon is suspended for the entire season. Both players have already appealed, and lost.
And yet there’s a chance that both players could still see their suspensions reduced.
As Mike Florio reported on NBC, Welker, Gordon and potentially other players in the midst of suspensions could benefit from a new drug testing policy that the owners and players could agree upon soon.
The new policy that may be forthcoming has received attention primarily because it would include testing for human growth hormone, which has never before been tested in the NFL. But the policy would also have some other changes.
One change is that offseason use of amphetamines would move from the performance-enhancing substance policy to the substance-abuse policy. That would mean that Welker would switch from a first-time offender in the PED policy (which carries an automatic four-game suspension) to a first-time offender in the substance-abuse policy (which carries no suspension).
Another change is that the threshold to trigger a positive result on a marijuana test would rise. That would affect Gordon because his positive marijuana test was just barely above the NFL’s current threshold for a positive, which is significantly lower than the threshold for other organizations like the World Anti-Doping Agency.
If the NFL changes its policy and agrees to apply it retroactively to players who tested positive this year, Welker and Gordon would benefit. Which means that while the players’ union is stopping short of saying an agreement is very close, Welker and Gordon would be wise to call their union representatives and urge them to get the deal done, and get it done soon.