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Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Union to investigate drug-test leaks

By Jane McManus
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- In the wake of 10 leaked results from prospect drug tests at the NFL combine, union head DeMaurice Smith said the NFL Players Association will review the circumstances surrounding the leaks.

"Our concern is there is obviously a lack of appropriate attention by the National Football League on the way they safeguard information that is collected on people attending the combine," Smith said. "Even though those players aren't technically represented by the union, once they are drafted, they are represented by the union. So we will be looking at a number of actions we can take as the union to protect the players in those situations."

Last week, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger provided a diluted urine sample, while a Fox Sports report named Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, and Florida State linebackers Telvin Smith and Christian Jones as players also failing drug tests.

That information could be considered legally protected personal health information, Smith said.

"If anyone from the team level is releasing information that could be considered (A) confidential or (B) subject to HIPAA," Smith said, "or information collected under the belief that that information is going to be held confidential with limited disclosures, if we find people in violation of that, we are going to take steps."

Smith said the NFLPA would look at steps such as negligence claims against people who run the combine, the people found to have leaked the information or even, Smith said, "People who broadcast or publicize the information."

Last season, information that then-Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman was in stage one of the NFL's substance abuse program was leaked, prompting outcry from the NFLPA and an investigation.

Smith said the NFLPA and NFL recently concluded the last set of interviews in that case.

"I anticipate in the next couple of weeks you will be hearing what our official position is," he said.