10:55pm: Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) has the breakdown of the new substance abuse policy.
A player will enter a program after one failed test and face a two game fine for a second failed test. From there it’s a four game fine for a third failed test, a four game suspension for a fourth flunked test, a ten game suspension for a fifth violation, and a one-year ban for a sixth failed test.
9:48am: The NFL and NFLPA have released a joint statement announcing changes to the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The press release doesn’t include details on the NFL’s new substance-abuse policy, but notes that those changes are expected to be announced soon as well, once the two sides finalize their agreement.
The new agreement on performance-enhancing drugs will allow Broncos wideout Wes Welker, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and Rams receiver Stedman Bailey to return to their respective teams this week. The agreement was expected to make a few more players eligible for immediate reinstatement, but those three names are the only ones mentioned in the release, so presumably other suspended players will have to wait a little longer, or serve their full suspensions. Additionally, when the substance-abuse policy changes are finalized, several more players could be reinstated.
Here are some other highlights of the new policy, per the release:
- HGH testing will be fully implemented this season.
- Appeals of positive tests in the performance enhancing drug programs (including HGH) will be heard by third-party arbitrators jointly selected and retained by the NFL and NFLPA.
- Discipline for violations of the performance enhancing drug policy (including for HGH) will be modified.
- A first violation will result in a suspension without pay of up to six games depending on the nature of the violation. Use of a diuretic or masking agent will result in a suspension without pay of two games. Use of a steroid, stimulant, HGH or other banned substance will result in a suspension without pay of four games. Evidence of an attempt to manipulate a test will result in a suspension without pay of six games.
- A second violation of the steroid policy will result in a suspension without pay of 10 games.
- A third violation will result in banishment for a minimum of two years.
- Players who test positive for banned stimulants in the offseason will no longer be suspended. Instead, the player will be referred to the substance abuse program. Players who test positive for banned stimulants during the season will continue to be suspended without pay for four games.