James Harrison‘s recent drug-testing mixup may have triggered more dissent between the NFL and NFLPA. The Steelers linebacker informed DeMaurice Smith of a drug-testing agent categorizing the taping of a test as an act that could ensure a positive result. The NFL’s explanation of the ban on taping drug tests was to maintain the process’ integrity, however, Smith’s response to Harrison — which he posted on his Instagram account (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk) — refutes that.
“Despite what the player was told, and what has been reported, our drug policy regarding specimen collection rules does not specifically prohibit the video taping of a drug test,” Smith wrote. “There are rules in place, however, that prohibit a player from carrying any item other than his collection cup into the restroom when providing a specimen. Additionally, some states may have rules limiting a person’s ability to videotape another person without their consent. If drug collectors desire to change the collection rules, they may not do so on their own as happened in this case. They need to obtain approval from both the NFL and the NFLPA before making any such changes.”
The veteran linebacker appears to be at the center of another controversy and the latest source of conflict between the league and its players’ union.
- The competition committee will consider a proposal that will expand the use of replay, Jarrett Bell of USA Today reports. Although penalties won’t be up for review, referees under this concept would be permitted to speak with league representatives in New York similar to last season’s playoffs format. The rule will need 24 approval votes at the owners’ meetings Tuesday in Charlotte.
- Another proposal on the table for the most recent set of meetings comes from the Redskins, who would prefer a late-summer format where teams did not have to perform two stages of roster cuts. Washington’s proposal would allow all 90 players to stay on the roster until the early-September cutdown to 53 is required instead of the initial trim to 75, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports. That passing would flood the waiver wire and free agent market with more than 1,200 players in one weekend.
- Although Vic Beasley will play a Bruce Irvin-like role with the Falcons after relocating from defensive end to linebacker, he’s still expected to return to a three-point stance on passing downs, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Atlanta’s coaches left the decision up to the 2015 first-rounder, though if it was their preference Beasley move to linebacker, this may have been a choice in name only.
- Buccaneers offensive line coach George Warhop did not consider the team to have deployed a good offensive line last season. Although the Bucs employed now-retired Logan Mankins and potentially promising Day 2 pick Ali Marpet, the team allowed an NFL-high 124 quarterback hits. “Too many quarterback hits, regardless. I don’t care whose fault it is,” Warhop said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “We all have a hand in that. It’s one of our points of emphasis this year. First meeting, ‘Hey, listen, guys. Everybody’s telling me what a great job you did. I thought we were just average, really.” Pro Football Focus graded tackles Donovan Smith and Gosder Cherilus as two bottom-tier performers at the position, but now-healthy Demar Dotson and newly signed J.R. Sweezy should bring some much-needed reinforcements to the group.
- Robert Mathis‘ Colts contract expires after this season, but Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen expects that if the former All-Pro can perform like he did during his age-34 slate in 2015 and is willing to work with the Colts financially, there’s a path for another Mathis contract for 2017. Mathis, Trent Cole and Erik Walden‘s contracts expire after this season, leaving Indianapolis bereft of pass-rushers after 2016. As part of an extension signed during Mathis’ PED suspension in Sept. 2014, the 35-year-old outside linebacker is due a non-guaranteed $5MM this season.