HGH appeals process remains hurdle between NFL, union

The NFL and NFL Players Association continue to move closer to reaching a final deal on testing for human growth hormone, according to an email obtained Thursday by NFL.com's Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer, via a league source, outlining all the areas in which the sides have come to an agreement.

The area in which the sides still disagree, and labeled the "final hurdle," is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's power as it relates to the appeals process. The players' union opposes allowing Goodell to "hear appeals for violations other than a positive test," according to the email. League officials believe such limits on Goodell's powers would be inappropriate, per the email.

Here are the areas in which the sides agree, per the email:

» Player appeals for a positive result will be heard by "third-party appeals officers with experience in drug-testing matters."

» Random blood testing for HGH will begin the first week of the regular season. Each week, 40 players will be randomly selected for it.

» During the preseason, all players will have blood samples taken. Those samples will be used by experts to advise the NFL and the union "of the numerical value at which a test result should be deemed 'positive.' "

» Once random testing beings during the regular season, players with a positive test will be suspended without pay for four games. A second violation will result in an eight-game suspension.

For the last two years, the NFL has been operating under the drug policy of the 2006 collective bargaining agreement. HGH testing is just one piece of the broader agreement needed.

Both the league and union have held out hope that HGH testing could be in place for the 2013 season.

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