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NFLPA 'tentatively agreed' with NFL to in-season HGH testing

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

As we told you earlier this week, the NFLPA approved protocol to get an HGH population study in place prior to the 2013 season and now a memo published by the Players Association states the union has "tentatively agreed" to in-season HGH testing.

The memo, published in Q&A format, can be read on the NFLPA site. It indicates that 40 players -- five random players chosen from eight teams each -- would be subjected to random testing each week.

"We have tentatively agreed (and will likely finalize soon, when a few other issues in Policy are settled) that each week during the season, a computer program will randomly select 5 men from 8 teams each week to provide blood," the memo reads. "The blood will be tested immediately, then frozen. The test results will be stored in a computer, and once the decision limit is determined, the results will be compared with the decision limit."

If it's determined that the tested player has an unacceptable level of HGH in his system, he'll receive a four-game suspension, in accordance with "Step One of the Policy." The player will, of course, have the right to appeal that suspension during which time his blood will "have been frozen and stored." Blood will be "destroyed within 60 days of his appeal" with "NO OTHER USE" being made of the blood.

The NFL wouldn't confirm that a test was in place, telling NFL.com that the two sides "do not yet" have an agreement in place.

"We do not have yet a comprehensive agreement for HGH testing and decline to comment on the union's memo," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

In order to establish the baseline HGH levels, every NFL player participating in 2013 training camp will have their blood drawn. Eventually third-party scientists will destroy these samples.

The NFLPA notes the issues we've previously brought up with respect to simply letting WADA test the players as well.

"The NFLPA informed NFL that the only way to move forward with hGH testing as part of the Performance Enhancing Substances Policy is for the parties to jointly hire independent scientists to conduct a scientifically rigorous population study to determine the correct decision limit for NFL players," the memo reads.

This agreement, which appears quite close to happening, should provide that, while also creating an HGH testing process that will be in place by the time the 2013 season begins.

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