Merriman refutes report of steroids bust at U.S.-Canada border

After a published report alleged he was caught carrying steroids near the United States border, Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman publicly defended himself, saying nothing of the sort ever happened.

Citing what it called "a reliable source close to the situation," reported Thursday that Merriman was detained by U.S. Customs near the border on July 28, the eve of Bills training camp. According to the website, steroids were found in Merriman's possession, but he wasn't arrested because it's technically not illegal.

Merriman acknowledged Thursday that he was stopped but said there wasn't any problem with the crossing.

"No problem," Merriman told *The Buffalo News*. "I came across as I normally do. I go there to get some massage therapy work done. They just questioned me about some bags and stuff I had. I was stopped and that was it. I was coming to camp. I had suitcases and stuff like that. They just wanted to go through all my stuff."

Asked if anything was confiscated from his possession, Merriman said, "No ... I had stuff coming to camp. They went through all my suitcases and that was it."

Even U.S. government officials said Thursday there was nothing to report on the matter.

"We have not been presented with any matter for prosecution involving Shawne Merriman or anyone else on the Buffalo Bills," said James P. Kennedy, first assistant in the U.S. Attorney's office in Buffalo.

Kennedy said he wasn't even aware that Merriman had been stopped at the border.

Merriman, the 12th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, was suspended for four games during the 2006 season for violating the NFL's steroids and related substances policy. Merriman chose not to appeal the suspension, and he and his attorney blamed a tainted nutritional supplement for the positive test for the anabolic steroid nandrolone.

Merriman, meanwhile, will miss the Bills' Saturday night preseason game against the Denver Broncos so that he can rest his sore right knee.

Bills coach Chan Gailey called the decision to rest Merriman a precaution. The coach added that Merriman likely would have played if this were a regular-season game.

Merriman has missed the past two days of practice since hurting his knee during a pass-rushing drill. He had two sacks in Buffalo's 10-3 preseason-opening loss against the Chicago Bears last weekend.

Wide receiver Roscoe Parrish also will sit out Saturday's game after missing a week of practice with a leg injury.

The Bills wrapped up three weeks of camp in suburban Rochester, N.Y., on Thursday and will resume practicing at their team headquarters in Orchard Park, N.Y., next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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