NFL tells teams that players won't be tested for HGH right now

The NFL issued a memo Friday informing teams that there will be no testing for human growth hormone at the start of the 2011 season, according to a document obtained by NFL Network's Albert Breer.

In the document sent to the league's management council and to all 32 teams, NFL lead counsel Jeff Pash said a disagreement with the players' union over testing procedures will prevent the program from starting before Week 1.

"Although the CBA reflects a commitment to implement (HGH) testing by the start of the 2011 regular season, it is apparent that we will be unable to do so because of the Union's continued refusal to accept the validity of the tests developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency that are used in Olympic sports and minor league baseball," Pash said.

When the league and NFL Players Association struck a new collective bargaining agreement, blood testing for human growth hormone was part of the deal -- but only if the union agreed to the methods.

The union hasn't agreed, however, saying last week that it needs more information on the safety and reliability of the tests from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"We have little to no information on the fundamental aspects of WADA's HGH testing protocol or reliability," union spokesman George Atallah said. "We have an obligation to keep the game clean and safe, but we also have an obligation to a fair and safe testing process."

The NFL would be the first of the major American professional sports leagues to implement HGH testing.

Pash also sent the teams some documents which he said address the union's questions, including: the process for drawing blood; how the blood samples will be shipped to testing laboratories; the labs the league is proposing to use; and, the manner in which thresholds for positive tests will be determined.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith on Tuesday reiterating the league's eagerness to implement HGH testing.

"The critical point in my view," Goodell wrote, "is that we now reaffirm our commitment to using the best science available, whether for HGH, steroids or any other prohibited substance. This principle has been and must remain at the heart of our programs."

On Wednesday, the union canceled its regularly scheduled conference call with its executive committee because of logistical problems associated with the final preseason games. One of the topics the player representatives planned to discuss was HGH testing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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