NFL, players' union still at odds over HGH testing as season opens

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

It's been almost two weeks since the NFL and NFL Players Association began their posturing over implementation of HGH testing. And it has been two years since the sides agreed to make HGH testing part of the collective bargaining agreement.

NFL Network's Steve Wyche asked during Tuesday's "NFL AM": What are the final hurdles to starting HGH testing?

Wyche pointed out that players are tired of delays.

"To level the playing field, I can't wait until they draw my blood," said Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the reigning NFL MVP.

Added Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith: "If drawing blood is the way to say, 'I'm clean,' I'll do that."

However, the sticking point isn't getting blood out of players. It's finding a reliable way to test every player and the players' desire to appeal to a third party over a false test -- and not have NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell involved.

The NFLPA, for instance, doesn't want Goodell to have final say should a Biogenesis-type scandal occur among NFL players.

"We want HGH out of football," players' representative Michael Robinson said, "but we want it done the right way."

With the season starting in two days, HGH testing might have to way until next year. Adolpho Birch, the NFL's senior vice president for law and labor policy, said the points they have agreed upon would make it tough to start testing after the season has begun.

That fact has some players frustrated.

"You want to go out there and have an even playing field and you want the best to be the best," Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "You can test me and my guys as many ways as you can. I don't want my guys who are natural going against guys who aren't."

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