NFL might begin HGH testing before 2012 season, attorney says

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It's been a long road to get to this point, but NFL general counsel Jeff Pash expressed some optimism that the league will have an HGH testing program in place and will begin testing in time for the 2012 season.

The league and the NFL Players Association, which have been at odds over HGH testing for much of the past year, have an agreement to conduct a population study that could lead to the beginning of testing, Newsday reported Friday.

"We have agreed, whether we think it's necessary or not, to do a population study, and we've identified some people who can do that study who are clearly independent of the NFL and NFLPA and have no ax to grind one way or another," Pash said Friday at an Associated Press Sports Editors meeting in New York, adding the study would be conducted by an independent laboratory. "If we can put the mechanism for that study in place, we can get to the point where we can have HGH testing."

In the accord that ended the lockout last July, the NFL and the union tentatively agreed to implement testing for human growth hormone. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said as recently as last November that he was "disappointed" with the slow movement by the players union in agreeing to a testing format.

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