Latest On Drug Policy Talks

7:08pm: The NFLPA hasn’t received the league’s response to the latest edits on the drug policy, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. With a game tomorrow, a vote amongst team reps is now unlikely before Friday.

1:43pm: There has been significant positive movement toward an agreement between the NFL and NFLPA on a new drug policy for the league, according to Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (Twitter link), who report that the league has dropped its request for discipline upon DUI arrests (without due process). The team player representatives are expected to spend the next 24 hours reviewing the details of the NFL’s latest proposal, and if all goes well, they should conduct a vote before Sunday (Twitter link).

While the DUI issue appears to have been tentatively resolved, there are still a couple areas of contention, according to Breer and Rapoport. The two sides have yet to agree upon the HGH testing protocol and neutral arbitration on appeals — the union’s lawyers flagged language in those two areas that had been modified in the league’s most recent proposal, and that was enough to force the team player reps to postpone a vote on whether or not to approve the new policy (Twitter links).

Still, there are a number of areas which have not been divisive and have essentially been agreed upon, including the idea of revisiting all player suspensions for the 2014 league year relating to the drug policy (Twitter link). If the new policy is approved this week, players like Wes Welker and Orlando Scandrick – who were suspended for 2014 violations – would likely be able to play as soon as this Sunday (Twitter link). Those suspensions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but Welker’s and Scandrick’s bans were based on a part of the policy which will be modified to make penalties less punitive, so they should be retroactively wiped out.

Of course, not all current suspensions will be so cut-and-dried; Breer and Rapoport point to Josh Gordon‘s case as one that will be a little more complicated (Twitter link). An agreement on a new drug policy would mean revisiting all suspensions levied since the new league year began on March 11, 2014, but while failed tests like Welker’s and Scandrick’s actually took place this year, Gordon failed his test last season. So even though the Browns wideout wasn’t disciplined until this year, the new policy may not apply to his suspension.

However, until a new plan is approved and until we hear exactly what it entails, we’re still in wait-and-see mode. For now, it appears that the NFLPA is moving toward voting on the NFL’s proposal, perhaps as early as tonight, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

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