Thursday, September 21, 2006
Goodell, Upshaw meet on large slate of issues
NEW YORK -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met Thursday with union chief Gene Upshaw and a group of other league and union officials on a range of issues, including the possibility of
expanding testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said nothing definitive would come out
of the session, one of the first formal meetings of its kind since
Goodell took over three weeks ago from Paul Tagliabue.
The meeting has been scheduled for a while to work out details
of the extension to the labor agreement, arrived at last March in
Dallas. Goodell, as the NFL's chief operating officer under
Tagliabue, was the league's main contact with Upshaw during those
But it also includes such subjects as putting a team in Los
Angeles -- Goodell was the league's point man on that issue before
becoming commissioner -- and expanded testing for steroids and other
performance-enhancing substances, such as human growth hormone.
"There was a wide-ranging CBA follow-up meeting today involving
several people and many issues, including the drug program,"
Aiello said in a statement. "Those meetings will continue."
"No announcements," Upshaw said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The HGH issue became more urgent in the last month after the
Charlotte Observer ran details of medical records produced in court
for the trial of Dr. James Shortt. Shortt, was sentenced to a year
and a day in prison after prescribing steroids and human growth
hormone for several Carolina Panthers in 2002. They went to the
Super Bowl after the 2003 season.
More recently, Washington offensive tackle Jon Jansen said on
HBO he believes "perhaps 15, 20 percent" of NFL players use HGH,
human growth hormone. Jansen later backed off that figure.
The league currently tests seven players per team per week on a
random basis for performance-enhancing drugs. It has asked the
union to consider more and Upshaw, after first balking, has
indicated he would be amenable to additional tests.