It was because of the conspiracy that the NFL considered suspending Miller for the entire season. He currently is serving a six-game suspension that was increased from four games.
The ESPN report said a collector became "star struck" with Miller and became friends with the NFL player.
Miller's initial diluted sample counted as a positive test and led to notification of his four-week suspension under the NFL's substance-abuse policy. While Miller's reps and the NFLPA were prepared to fight the suspension vigorously in the appeals process, sources said the NFL, NFLPA and Miller's representatives became aware that the Broncos linebacker and the collector involved worked together in an attempt to help Miller avoid a failed test.
Sources said the collector worked in Miami, where Miller spends offseason time, and the collector reveled in knowing the Broncos linebacker while being, according to a source, "star struck." It led, sources said, to the collector's willingness to substitute another person's urine specimen for Miller's. It might have worked, sources said, had a second collector not discovered that Miller was not in the city where his collection was supposed to have taken place.
"He's fast," one source said of Miller, "but he's not that fast."
One source was "reasonably certain" no money changed hands between Miller and the collector, but there was concern the NFL may have a problem beyond Miller and the collector involved.
The NFL, the NFLPA, Miller's agent and the drug testing company Drug Free Sport all declined comment.
ESPN said, according to a source, that the Miami urine collector has been fired. The NFL has since met with Drug Free Sport to ensure a similar episode does not occur. Also, the NFL and the NFLPA jointly investigated Miller to see if he was covering up use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In the wake of this, sources said, the NFL and NFLPA worked to deal with the bigger picture. There was a meeting between the two sides. And while Miller was taking his six-game suspension, there were discussions on terms of action against the testing company, which the union agreed to drop and allow Goodell and other league officers to clean up.
The NFL met with Drug Free Sport to make sure instances like Miller's could and would be avoided in the future. Drug Free Sport, according to sources, already has identified a new fingerprinting technology to the NFL, similar to the one being used in new iPhones, that would make it impossible for substitute urine specimens to be submitted.
Meanwhile, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent out a reminder and warning to players before the regular season to adhere and respect the collection process. The Broncos said they had no knowledge of any of this situation and declined comment, and Miller's suspension, which cannot be increased per the settlement agreement, is set to expire three weeks from Monday.
-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor