The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to a new drug policy, the league announced Wednesday.
The two sides had been close to an agreement for more than a week. Only the performance-enhancing substances portion of the agreement was announced, as details in the substance abuse portion are still being finalized, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer.
As part of the agreement, the NFL announced that Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey have all been reinstated immediately and are eligible to play this week.
Reports have said that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon's suspension will be reduced from the entire 2014 season to 10 games as part of the new policy. No announcement has been officially made since Gordon's suspension falls under the substance abuse category.
The most notable change in the new drug agreement is the institution of testing for HGH, for which the NFL has never previously tested. The league said information on policies and procedures will be sent to teams within a week and that testing should begin by the end of the month.
Under the terms of the new PED policy, a first violation will result in a suspension of up to six games. Specifically, the use of a diuretic or masking agent will bring a two-game suspension, the use of a banned substance will result in a four-game suspension and evidence of an attempt to manipulate a drug test will result in a six-game suspension.
A second violation will result in a 10-game suspension, and a third violation will result in a minimum two-year ban.
Appeals of suspensions related to PED violations will be heard by third-party arbitrators instead of the league office.
- Scooby Axson