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NFL, NFLPA make 'serious progress' toward HGH testing in 2013

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell could be close to reaching an HGH testing agreement. (USATSI)
DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell could be close to reaching an HGH testing agreement. (USATSI)

The lack of HGH testing in the NFL is a big elephant in the room for football. The lockout of 2011 and the ensuing collective bargaining agreement were supposed to lead to the development of an HGH testing program. Thus far, nothing. But CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms that the NFL and NFLPA are "making serious progress" toward an HGH agreement for 2013.

The news, as first reported by Albert Breer of NFL Network, would be huge for the league and for players. There have been all kinds of issues with the setup for testing in the past; that the two sides are, per Breer, "much further along" than they've ever been and "pretty optimistic" about the future of the talks is a very good thing.

Breer reports that one of the biggest areas of development and progress is the population study -- when I wrote about the issues with WADA way back in December 2011, population study was one of the primary concerns.

The players don't want a "standard" population study used to compare against NFL players, who might have naturally raised levels of HGH, and wanted to create their own population study.

How that shakes out will largely determine who "won" the HGH issue. But ignore that narrative; the reality is getting some form of testing for HGH is a win for everyone involved if only because eliminating performance-enhancing drugs from the sport makes it safer and cleaner.

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