Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Updated: December 6, 1:00 PM ET
League decides not to suspend Henry after positive drug test
By John Clayton
Denver Broncos halfback Travis Henry won an appeal of his one-year drug suspension and will be able to finish out the remainder of the season.
The NFL informed Henry in September he had failed a test for
marijuana. He disputed the results and sued the NFL to avoid a
suspension. He contended the league violated its substance abuse
policy by not allowing an expert of Henry's choosing to be present
for the testing.
Henry's lawyer Harvey Steinberg told The Associated Press that
he wasn't surprised by the decision.
"I'm thrilled," Steinberg said. "I always thought we should
prevail. I knew that if we got a fair shake, based on the evidence,
we'd win. Travis knows and he's absolutely thrilled and relieved
and very happy."
Henry's defense was that the NFL didn't allow an expert of Henry's choosing to be present for the testing. Faced with the possibility of getting a one-year suspension because he's been a past offender, Henry even took his case to a federal court.
After waiting for a ruling, Henry was notified Tuesday afternoon he won his appeal.
"Travis Henry will remain in the substance abuse program, must continue to adhere to all aspects of it, but will not be suspended following his appeal," the NFL announced in a statement Tuesday.
But Steinberg wasn't sure if Henry would remain in the program
or cycle out.
"That's going to be interesting," Steinberg said. "I think he
was due to be let out."
Henry convinced Mike Shanahan and the Broncos of his innocence by agreeing to a lie detector test and the use of hair samples for testing purposes. Had he failed the lie detector test, Shanahan said he would have considered releasing him, but Henry passed the test and had the full faith of his coach.
League spokesman Greg Aiello said that had no bearing on the
"The defense of hair samples and lie detector tests was
irrelevant and unconvincing," Aiello said in a statement. "But
our substance abuse program is based on meeting the highest
standards and respecting player rights in all phases of its
The Broncos signed Henry to a five-year, $22.5 million free
agent contract that included $12 million in guarantees this
offseason after the Titans released him in a cost-cutting move.
Henry has missed four games this year because of a knee injury. He has 629 yards on 143 carries and three touchdowns.
"We are pleased with this outcome and happy that Travis has been absolved of any wrongdoing with respect to this matter," the Broncos said in a statement. "The Broncos look forward to Travis Henry's continued participation on the playing field."
Steinberg said he was instructed to win the case by his
13-year-old twin sons, who met Henry while working at the Broncos'
training camp last summer.
"They told me that Travis is one of the nicest guys and that
I'd better not lose this case," Steinberg said with a laugh.
"That's why I'm happy we won."
Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.