The word is that the NFL and the NFLPA, the players union, are getting closer and closer to actually agreeing on provisions for human growth hormone testing and other revisions to the NFL’s drug test. Some outlets are reporting the closeness more readily than others, and it’s important to note that the two sides have been “close” on the issue since the last lockout, in 2011, but it appears as though Arizona Sen. John McCain’s recent letter and Wes Welker’s Kentucky debauchery may have prompted some more intense appraisal of the issue — we’d like to think that the recent marijuana suspensions also played a role, but we can’t be sure.
According to ESPN, which is far and away a flag bearer of the “it’s going to happen really, really soon, everyone” camp, “Marijuana thresholds for a positive test would be increased, including players being afforded more strikes for positive tests before suspensions are imposed,” and “certain substances such as Adderall, Ritalin and other amphetamines will shift from the PED policy to the substance-abuse policy, specific to an offseason positive test.”
This is, needless to say, a big deal, if it’s true. No one else seems to be quite so adamant as the worldwide leader in sports, though, with The Washington Post providing a decidedly lukewarm (and anonymous) quote that said, “It’s been close before” in the middle of a section about how no one was willing to jinx the new deal by saying anything other than “Yeah, it might happen — maybe, possibly.” Not exactly the most definitive statements, which is a shame, because the NFL’s current rule system is, well, something you might expect a bunch of people with latent brain injuries in waiting to come up with.