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NFL, Players Union Extremely Close To New Drug Policy Deal; Could Be Done Today

| by Jonathan Wolfe

A high-ranking NFL Players Association (NFLPA) source tells NFL.com’s Albert Breer that the NFLPA and the NFL are extremely close to implementing a new drug policy agreement. So much progress has been made, in fact, that the NFLPA has a conference call scheduled for today to finalize a potential agreement.

According to NFL.com, all 32 NFLPA league representatives have been informed that a call will happen. Team representatives will be advised on a proposal during the call, and a vote will follow.

The primary remaining sticking point is over how the league will deal with DUI arrests. League officials want players to be eligible for suspension after DUI arrests, but the NFLPA firmly argues that players should have to be convicted of an offense before they are punished. If the sides can come to an agreement on this topic, the deal should get done.

Among the topics already agreed upon by NFL and NFLPA representatives:

- Marijuana policy:  the new agreement would require a higher threshold for a positive marijuana result on a drug test. The NFL’s current policy requires only the slightest amount of THC to be present on a test in order to punish a player. NFLPA representatives argue the threshold is so low that players could test positive based on second hand smoke or contact alone. The new threshold will eliminate this problem and be more in line with widely accepted standards. 

- Amphetamine: offseason use of amphetamines will now be considered a substance abuse violation. Amphetamine is currently considered a performance enhancing drug, which leads to much harsher punishments for offenders.

- HGH testing: under a new agreement, HGH testing would begin immediately.

- Reassesment of all drug-related punishments from the 2014 league year: league officials will reevaluate all drug punishments doled out this year. Players like Josh Gordon and Wes Welker could see their punishments significantly reduced or dropped altogether. ESPN reporter Tony Grossi reports if a deal get's done, Gordon will be reinstated soon after. 

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