Steelers hopeful HGH testing deal will get done soon
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 10:37 p.m.
As the NFL and NFLPA push closer to coming to a mutual agreement for league-wide human growth hormone (HGH) testing, Steelers president Art Rooney II can't help but have one prevalent thought: What took so long?
“I think we should've had this done a couple years ago, and I am not quite sure why it took so long, to be honest,” Rooney said Friday.
The NFL and NFLPA recently agreed on conducting an HGH population study in which blood samples will be collected from players during training camp to set a baseline for the proper limit of hormones permitted.
It's a first step in a process that Rooney said he believes should've happened not long after the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified two years ago. It called for the sides work out details of testing.
“I will say that I don't think it should've taken this long,” Rooney said. “I would hope no later than next year (that testing will be in place). I would hope to at least get this population study done this year and have something in place for next season.”
The NFL and NFLPA continued to talk this week in hope of finalizing an agreement on testing procedures.
It's believed that once an agreement is reached, it will be the most scientifically valid HGH test in pro sports. Major League Baseball is the only professional league that has HGH testing, but it did not do a population study.
“I am fine with the testing,” Steelers safety and player rep Ryan Clark said. “We have done an extremely good job of the banner sport as far as performing-enhancing drugs go. We try to uphold a certain level of integrity there. I totally understand why the commissioner (Roger Goodell) and the NFLPA want to do it.”
Veteran linebacker Larry Foote wants to see testing in place as well. For him, the sooner it happens, the better.
“I am all for it,” Foote said. “We need to make it an even playing field. Get it out of the game. I don't think it helps you in football, but still, the guys need to stay away from that.”
Foote said he doesn't know of anybody or saw anybody taking HGH but has heard the “rumbles.”
“A lot of he said, she said. This guy is doing it, this guy is doing it,” Foote said. “It hasn't come through our locker room and never offered to me, but I hear a lot of rumors, so I am sure it has to be a problem. You get to wondering.”
Clark added about the usage around the league: “It isn't something that I've heard be real prevalent, but it is something that I wonder about. You see guys come back from injuries real fast, and you are sitting there all season with a bad hip.”
Rooney said he doesn't believe it's a rampant problem but acknowledged that it likely exists and needs to be removed from the league.
“There are most likely players trying it,” Rooney said. “Now, there is no way to know that. It is important for the integrity of the league, but I think it is important to the players to know that they are on a level playing field and are not lining up across somebody on PEDs.”
There still are a number of issues that have to be worked out before testing is in place, including procedural, economic and punishment/due process and appeals.
Clark said that making sure the test is accurate is the most important issues for the players.
“I think we have to do it in a way that is fair to the players,” Clark said. “There are not a lot of tests that are foolproof. There is a margin of error in every test, and we are trying to find a way where the testing process is fair. If that happens, then it is good for the sport.”
Rooney said there are a number of issues that have to be ironed out before testing will be agreed upon.
“There are issues that need to be worked out, but to me, they can be worked out,” Rooney said. “There is enough precedent out there that we should be able to get this done.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- With so many needs, Steelers can ill afford to miss in draft
- Steelers defense doesn’t make the grade in 2013 review
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Steelers create cap space by re-signing Polamalu, Miller
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Steelers’ Worilds signs transition tag