(The Sports Xchange) - The NFL on Monday will begin testing players for human growth hormone (HGH), according to NFL.com.
The league and the NFLPA announced Sept. 19 that the two sides agreed to a new drug policy that includes HGH testing for the first time.
NFL.com obtained a letter written by NFLPA president Eric Winston to players.
“As you know, the new Performance Enhancing Substances Policy includes HGH testing,” the letter read. “Testing for hGH will begin on Monday, October 6th. Each week of the season, 5 players on 8 teams will be tested. No testing will occur on game days. We negotiated to ensure that the methodology of testing be conducted in the most professional and safest manner for players. Importantly, after three years of negotiating, players won the right to challenge any aspect of the science behind the hGH isoforms test in an appeal of a positive test.”
The letter also stated that any substance abuse or performance enhancing drug policy violations, including HGH, will be handled by an independent arbitrator.
The Jacksonville Jaguars activated wide receiver Ace Sanders and right tackle Austin Pasztor to the 53-man roster Saturday.
Sanders finished serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He took a leave of absence in July to get help.
Sanders is expected to play a prominent role in Jacksonville’s pass offense with wide receivers Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts III out for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Larry Bironas, father of former kicker Rob Bironas of the Tennessee Titans, said his son knew better that to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, as he did when he was killed in a single-car accident on Sept. 20 in Nashville, Tenn.
Bironas, who lost control of his car while driving at a high rate of speed, had a blood-alcohol content of .218, more than 2.5 times the legal limit, according to a report obtained by The Tennessean.
”He drank too much and got in the car and it cost him his life,“ Larry Bironas, 68, said. ”I don’t condone drinking, and Rob knew that. ... Why it happened? Why had he been drinking so much that night? Why did he get behind the wheel? I don’t know. We’ll probably never know. At the same time I have to have faith and believe that someone has a better place for him.
“Rob’s life served a purpose. He had a better 36 years than most people are going to see and he didn’t take anybody with him, so I am thankful for that. The Lord took care of him as he saw to do it. But Rob knew better, he knew not to get in the car while drinking. It should have never happened.”
The New England Patriots promoted outside linebacker Ja‘Gared Davis from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, the National Football Post reported.
Davis has been a Patriots practice squad player for the better part of the last two seasons. He played one game last year.
Editing by Gene Cherry