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Monday, April 29, 2013
'Honey Badger' eager to pass the test(s)

By Mike Sando

The Arizona Cardinals' plan to require periodic drug tests for 2013 third-round choice Tyrann Mathieu is permissible under the collective bargaining agreement, which allows for "testing by agreement" under certain restrictions.

George Atallah, assistant executive director of external affairs for the NFL Players Association, passed along the following CBA language upon request earlier Monday:
"An NFL club and a player may agree that such player will submit to unannounced Testing during the term of said player’s NFL Player Contract provided that the club has a reasonable basis for requesting such agreement. A Positive Test (as hereinafter defined) as a result of such Testing shall be reported to the Medical Director and shall result in the player’s entering Stage One of the Intervention Program.

"Once a player enters an Intervention Stage the number of Tests that a player will be required to take will be determined by the Medical Director or the Medical Advisor, as set forth herein – not by the terms of the player’s NFL Player Contract. Upon being dismissed from the Intervention Stages, a player’s NFL Player Contract will govern the number of Tests that he is subjected to.

"All such individually negotiated Testing shall be conducted under the direction of the Medical Advisor and not the club. In cases of individually negotiated Testing, the Medical Advisor and other Interested Parties will continue to be bound by the confidentiality provisions established by this Policy."

I had not immediately found the language in the CBA, but in Googling some of it, I see that Pro Football Talk also published these passages in relation to Mathieu.

Mathieu's publicly stated eagerness to comply with such additional testing should be encouraging to the Cardinals. Arizona would not have drafted Mathieu without such assurances, it appears.

"Their biggest thing is they want to be able to trust me," Mathieu told reporters in Arizona. "They want to be able to know that I've crossed that bridge. In order to do that, the Cardinals and I are going to agree to a contract. In order for that contract to go through, I'm going to have to do certain things and I’m going to have to be certain places. That’s my responsibility, and I accept it."