NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said that if the league revamps the drug program, players who were recently suspended under the old system should have their punishments altered.
Multiple media outlets reported that the NFL and NFLPA were close to implementing a new drug program, which includes testing for human growth hormone.
"If we get a deal done that covers players in this league year, I don't like that we punish players under a deal active in the old league year,” Smith said to 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer.
One issue at stake is the threshold for marijuana and other kinds of testing. Organizations like the United States Military, World Anti-Doping Agency, and Major League Baseball each have higher thresholds -- the level needed to signal a failed test -- than the NFL has for marijuana testing.
According to Breer, 29 players who were suspended for stimulants in the past three years would have been entered into the new drug program without being suspended.
“We don't want players to suffer because the union and league couldn't get it done before the league year,” Smith said.
The new policy could benefit Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos, who were suspended for violation of the league’s policy on substance abuse and performance-enhancing drugs.
- Scooby Axson