Regardless of whether there are big coincidences or small coincidences, it’s coincidental at best that Browns safety Jabrill Peppers didn’t sign a participation agreement allowing him to take part in the rookie minicamp, given that without a participation agreement (or a formal contract) he is immune from drug testing.
That’s how it works; no testing occurs (either substance-abuse or PED) until a player signs his rookie deal or inks a participation agreement that promises he’ll receive the contract he would have gotten if he suffers a serious injury during offseason workouts. Regardless of whether Peppers didn’t sign a participation agreement with the specific purpose of avoiding drug testing, that’s the practical result.
Despite the nonchalance projected by coach Hue Jackson regarding the decision of Peppers to decline to sign a participation agreement, it’s a very rare occurrence. Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman did it in 2005. Last year, Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa actually signed a participation agreement and showed up for rookie minicamp before refusing to engage in any further workouts until he received his four-year deal.
Again, it doesn’t mean Peppers refused to sign the participation agreement specifically to avoid drug testing. Still, without the participation agreement he won’t be tested. Given that he tested positive at the Scouting Combine with a dilute sample (and thus will be in the program once he shows up for work) and in light of post-draft comments from executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown indicating that the positive test is something Peppers has to clean up, it’s fair to at least wonder whether his decision not to sign a standard document allowing him to participate in rookie minicamp has a connection to the effort to clean something up.