Roger Goodell predicts NFL will test for HGH before next season
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org February 1, 2013 11:53PM
Updated: March 3, 2013 6:18AM
NEW ORLEANS — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is confident testing will be in place for human-growth hormone before the start of next season.
The league and the players association agreed to HGH testing in their collective-bargaining two years ago. Although Goodell said, “We have moved down that path in an effective way,” there has been little progress made regarding the method of testing because the union has concerns about the appeals process.
“I believe that HGH testing is going to happen prior to the 2013 NFL season,” Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl news conference. “It’s the right thing to do for the players for their health and well-being long-term. It’s the right thing to do for the integrity of the game. It’s also the right thing to do to send the right message to everybody else in sports.
“You don’t have to play the game by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The science is there. There is no question about that. Baseball, [the] Olympics, everyone believes that the science is there and are utilizing the tests. So we need to get to that agreement.”
Goodell was asked directly about an 18-game schedule. He said the league will continue to re-evaluate the season structure.
“We’ve been very open about the fact that we want to address our preseason,” Goodell said. “Do we need four preseason games? Do we only need two or three? How do we continue to develop talent? How do we continue to evaluate players?
“The fans’ reaction to the quality of preseason is a big concern. So, we have to do that collectively. That’s what our CBA does. If we wanted to implement an 18-game schedule, we could have done that in the prior CBA. The ownership and management agreed that we would do that collectively and we would consider and balance the player health and safety issues with that. So, we’ll continue to evaluate that.”
In the doghouse
Goodell said he welcomed President Barack Obama’s comments about the safety of football, particularly with concussions. Goodell said he intends to continue to push for suspensions for players who violate NFL rules for hits to the head.
“We’re going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders,” Goodell said. “It’s not just the player, the defenseless player, that’s being protected; it’s the person doing the striking.
“Taking these hits out of the game can be positive. The most effective way of doing that, and I’m not for it because we want to see all of our players on the field, is when they are repeat offenders and they are involved with these dangerous techniques, that we’re going to have to take them off the field. Suspension gets through to them.”