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Reports: NFL, NFLPA close on new drug-testing program

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

The NFL and the NFL Players Association are close to a new drug-testing program, which will include hGH testing, ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio reports.

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora points out that the two sides have been close to a deal several times, and many of the issues have been verbally agreed on since last year (higher marijuana thresholds, stronger DUI penalties, reclassifying amphetamines). The NFL and NFLPA still haven't resolved the issue of appeals. And while they get "close" every year right before the season, hurdles remain. Until they sign off on every detail, close remains a relative term.

Regarding hGH, Florio writes: "The hGH testing agreement is expected to grant an independent arbitrator the authority to resolve appeals of positive tests. The last major sticking point related to the question of whether the Commissioner or an independent arbitrator will handle the appeals of discipline imposed for violations unrelated to a positive test."

According to the Washington Post's Mark Maske, Wes Welker's four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances has expedited discussions.

Echoing La Canfora, three of Maske's sources warned that a new deal is in no way certain. "Talks remain fragile and still could unravel."

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