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Goodell says NFL will insist on HGH testing

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is insisting on human growth hormone testing as part of the new collective bargaining agreement with the players.

"The integrity of the NFL is critical," Goodell said after speaking to 700 Baltimore-area high school football players at Woodlawn High school about performance-enhancing drugs. "We have to make sure that we're doing everything possible to have the best drug program in sports. Making changes to our program is critical. We have done that over the years and we have to do more, including the inclusion of HGH testing."

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Goodell said the testing was discussed with the NFL Players Association before labor talks broke off March 11 and the lockout began. The players union has resisted HGH testing in the past because it requires a blood test, not a urine one.

Goodell wouldn't describe the players' reaction to HGH testing last month but he said, "I believe they know the importance of doing it."

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According to Goodell, the NFL administers over 14,000 tests randomly over a year.

"You always have to modify your testing program to stay ahead of the people who are going to cheat the system," he said. "We would be naïve to think that people aren't going to cheat the system. But we have to have the best drug testing program to be able to offset it."

Goodell spoke two days before the players' preliminary injunction hearing to lift the lockout starts. The hearing is scheduled to be in front of U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in Minnesota.

"We don't believe this is an issue that should be decided in court," Goodell said. "This is an issue that should be decided at the bargaining table. We have to get back to that bargaining table no matter what the outcome of the litigation."

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