During a Wednesday press availability, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked whether it’s true that an agreement with the NFLPA on hGH testing is close.
“Well, I don’t know how you get any closer than we thought we had agreed to it in 2011,” Goodell said. “It was in our agreement and we felt we had an hGH policy that was agreed to. We’ve had varying discussions with the NFLPA about getting that instituted. We think it’s overdue to get it done. We think it’s in the best interest of the players, best interest of the game and the best interest of the generations of young kids that look up to us. We welcome getting it done and we’re anxious to do so.”
While it’s true that the two sides agreed hGH testing will occur, the inability to agree on a procedure for it has bogged the process down miserably. And the NFL hasn’t pushed the issue because it’s critical that the players willingly embrace the invasion of their flesh by a needle that will extract blood.
So is it now closer to happening, as we (and now others) have reported?
“You know my view on that is that unfortunately over the three years, a lot of things have changed,” Goodell said. “One minute it’s this issue. Another minute it’s another. We’ve tried to address all those issues. We think we have. I’ll be happy when we can announce we have the program done and completed.”
Of course, the NFLPA would say the same thing about the NFL. Significant progress has been made. But, as one source with direct knowledge of the process explained it to PFT, the NFL has a habit of suddenly asking to change something that the NFLPA previously believed was resolved. Likewise, the NFL will suddenly fall silent at a time when momentum is building.
There’s a quiet hope that the process will accelerate toward a conclusion today, but a fear exists that Wednesday’s reports regarding a deal being close will throw a wrench in the gears. From the union’s perspective, failure to work something out before the season begins could make it very difficult to get anything done before the season ends.