SUNDAY, 10:20am: Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the NFL and NFLPA moved farther apart in their drug policy talks on Saturday night. The earliest any deal could happen would be tomorrow or Tuesday, but this recent development could delay such an agreement. However, as Florio writes, “Look for the talks to continue and a deal to remain possible unless and until one side or the other completely shuts down the negotiation process.”
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, there would be a breakdown in the process if the the NFL insists on the right to discipline players for DUI arrests prior to due process in the legal system. If that happens, then the NFLPA will not agree to a comprehensive drug policy.
SATURDAY, 6:00pm: Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk provides a handful of updates on the drug policy talks, writing that the league is proposing a one-game deactivation for any player or other team employee (including owners) who is arrested for DUI. In other words, an arrest without a conviction wouldn’t result in a suspension or lost pay, though the NFL would like first-time offenders to face a minimum two-game suspension after the conclusion of the legal process.
Per Florio (Twitter links), the ball is currently in the NFL’s court to respond to the NFLPA’s latest proposal, but a new agreement won’t be in place until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest, so any current suspensions will stand for this weekend at least.
SATURDAY, 11:50am: Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the NFL and player’s union continue to work towards an agreement, and that Sunday is a soft deadline. Mark Maske of The Washington Post tweets that the two sides are trying to “complete something” today.
SATURDAY, 10:42am: We’ve heard whispers over the past couple of days that the NFL and the player’s union are diligently working on a new league drug policy. A league source tells Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that an announcement could come at any time.
As Florio writes, the agreement would focus on the NFL using players’ blood test to check for the use of human growth hormone. Additionally, there would be changes in the league’s substance-abuse policy; a positive marijuana test will now be based on a higher grading-scale (which could affect Browns wideout Josh Gordon). The league will also consider offseason use of amphetamines a violation of the substance-abuse policy (which could affect Broncos receiver Wes Welker).
Florio also reports that the two sides agreed on a new deal regarding human grown hormone appeals. Any appeal for a positive PED or HGH test will now be heard through a third-party arbitrator, as opposed to commissioner Roger Goodell. Florio writes that the league is requesting the right to suspend players arrested for DUIs before their legal cases are cleared up in court.
There were reports yesterday suggesting that the player’s union refused an offer from the NFL to erase Gordon’s suspension in exchange for a resolution on the HGH testing, and Florio clarifies those rumors. NFLPA spokesperson George Atallah told PFT that the deal was never offered:
“The union would never negotiate an entire substance-abuse policy or PED policy based on one player.”