Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Raji denies drug test reports
ESPN.com news services
B.J. Raji and his agents say Raji, who is considered the top defensive tackle eligible for this month's NFL draft, has not received notice of a failed drug test, and they are disputing reports that Raji had a positive test at the scouting combine.
"The biggest thing is trying to figure out how this started," Raji told The (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Press Democrat. "I couldn't understand how this rumor became such a big splash in the media when there was no evidence -- there was no substance to believe it. The last couple days, I was just trying to figure out: Who? What? Basically, why?
"Now, I'm happy the truth is out. Obviously, it's not going to be as big of a splash as the negative part. But as long as the coaches and the decision-makers know what is true, then I don't need to be concerned with everybody else," he told the newspaper.
Raji's Athletes First representatives, Mark Humenik and Brian Murphy, issued a statement Monday denying the reports.
"On Friday, the NFL issued a statement challenging the foundation for these reports and indicating that neither the league nor its member clubs know the results of drug or steroid tests taken at the 2009 combine and that the independent medical advisers who administer the tests have notified in writing those players -- and only those players -- who tested positive at the combine," the statement said. "B.J. Raji has NOT received any letter from the NFL or the Independent Administrator indicating that he tested positive for drugs at the combine."
In a statement released by the NFL last week, the league said neither its 32 teams nor the league office know the results of drug or steroid tests taken at the combine.
"Unfortunately, rumors about draft-eligible players, including rumors about test results, begin to circulate every year at this time," the league statement said. "Many of these rumors are circulated for self-serving reasons, and they are terribly unfair to the players and their families."
Raji, who was meeting with the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday, has also visited the Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.
NFL scouts were made aware before the 2008 season that Raji tested positive for marijuana during his time at Boston College.
Teams expect to receive the official report of who tested positive during the combine around April 20.
Raji, rated seventh on Todd McShay's projected list and No. 6 on Mel Kiper's most recent Big Board on ESPN.com, missed the 2007 college season with academic problems.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.