Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Bryant says drug testing policy doesn't apply to him in lawsuit
DENVER -- Former San Francisco receiver Antonio Bryant filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to stop the NFL from requiring him to submit to drug testing, arguing the league's policy doesn't apply to him anymore.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court states the 49ers terminated Bryant's contract March 1, meaning: "Antonio Bryant is not a 'player,' not an employee or not under contract to the Defendants in any form or fashion."
Letters sent to Bryant by the NFL, which were part of court documents filed Wednesday, show the NFL asked him to submit to a urinalysis on Sept. 6, 13 and 18 and threatened him with discipline equivalent to a positive test if he didn't cooperate.
Bryant's agent and attorney, Peter Schaffer, said his client had been randomly tested since he left the 49ers but decided he was under no obligation to take them.
"It doesn't make any sense at all," Schaffer said of the NFL's testing of Bryant.
Bryant's lawsuit asks a judge for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order prohibiting the NFL from administering tests or sharing the results of those tests. It also asks the court to prohibit the NFL from telling teams that Bryant faces suspension should they decide to sign him.
As for what teams Bryant might be considering or whether he would play in the NFL again, Schaffer said his client is keeping his options open.
A message left after business hours for NFL spokesman Greg Aiello was not returned. A phone number listed for Bryant, who lives in Coppell, Texas, was inoperable.
The lawsuit was filed in Colorado because Schaffer is based in the state.
Bryant was released in March, just one season after he signed a four-year contract with the 49ers worth $14 million.
Bryant caught 40 passes last season for a team-leading 733 yards. But he repeatedly clashed with coach Mike Nolan and was suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Bryant won the Biletnikoff Award as the NCAA's best receiver as a sophomore at Pitt. He played for Dallas and Cleveland before joining the 49ers.
In May, Bryant pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was sentenced to a year's probation for going more than 100 mph through San Mateo, Calif.