HGH testing in the NFL will have to wait a little longer. The candidate tabbed to conduct a population study as a precursor to player testing withdrew, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith revealed at a Thursday press conference.
"The league's choice to run the population study that we had consented to recently withdrew and said that he wasn't the right person to get this done," Smith said. "I'm thrilled that the league has made a decision to move forward with the population study. I'm a little frustrated that their selection has now pulled out so that we have to again re-up and try to get this done."
The league did not comment on the matter, but a report in the Washington Post, citing a league source who asked to remain anonymous, had the league laying the blame on the NFLPA. The Post's source said that the candidate tasked with the population study pulled out because they felt it was an unnecessary step and hotly politicized by the union. That same source claimed that other potential candidates do conduct the population study have declined for the same reasons.
HGH testing was included as part of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. In fact, that deal would have made the NFL the first professional sports league in North America to conduct HGH testing with the consent of the players' union.
Testing was supposed to begin early last season, but the league and the union have yet to agree to testing procedures. The union requested the population study as a first step to determine an acceptable threshold and what defines a positive test for players.
Smith acknowledged that there were other issues related to HGH testing still to be resolved, adding to an already long list of offseason squabbles between the NFL and the NFLPA.