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NFL, union HGH talks productive

The NFL and players' union met Wednesday in an attempt to reach an agreement on testing procedures for human growth hormone as early as the upcoming season.

The labor agreement that ended the NFL lockout in 2011 requires the league to gain union approval before testing players for HGH. The union says it favors testing but has reservations about the appeals process. The union also has reservations about the way discipline will be handed out and wants to collectively bargain that issue.

"The NFL and NFLPA had a productive meeting today. We continue to work together to finalize a comprehensive agreement on HGH testing that is effective and fair," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote on Twitter.

According to a memo obtained by ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, the NFLPA's board of directors sent a memo to players saying they will have a blood sample taken during training camp physicals as part of a population study for HGH in order to determine the threshold for a positive test.

The league and players' union agreed to test players for HGH once the union approved the process as part of the new collective bargaining agreement reached in 2011. A source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that no players will be penalized for HGH use in 2013.

Supplemental HGH is a banned substance that is hard to detect and is used by athletes for what are believed to be a variety of benefits -- whether real or perceived -- such as increasing speed and improving vision.

Among the health problems connected to HGH are diabetes, cardiac dysfunction and arthritis.

Several players voiced support for testing Tuesday, including Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason.

"For me, I'm happy. I don't take that stuff, so I'm more than happy to do it. The guys who are taking it, now if they get caught it's an even playing field," Beason said on NFL Network. "It's already hard enough to make it to the league, stay in the league and stay healthy in the league. ... I think it's a good thing, so I'm looking forward to it and more than willing to comply with whatever the league and NFLPA comes up with."

The Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten and Sean Lee said they believe testing for HGH will be good for the game.

"We've seen other pro sports and how important that's been and the negative vibe it's gotten," said Witten, who is the Cowboys' NFLPA representative. "Everybody wants a level playing field. I think the union wants it under the right circumstance. There's a lot of parameters when you start testing for blood, but I think everyone is welcoming that when it's done the right way. It's probably taken longer than we all expected it to, but it sounds like we're close."

Lee said he would support testing if it was "100 percent foolproof."

"If an innocent guy is found guilty, his life is completely ruined," he said. "As long as the test is scientifically 100 percent where you can't get anybody proven to be false, I'm fine with it."

Information from ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer and The Associated Press was used in this report.