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NFL, NFLPA adopt human-growth hormone testing, reinstate Welker, two others

Human-growth hormone testing has been approved by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the two parties announced in a joint statement Wednesday.

Third-party arbitration will be used for appeals of positive tests with appeals to be processed more quickly under new rules and procedures. Testing for HGH is set to begin in a few weeks.

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Here are the other drug policy points, including reinstatement immediately of Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey and Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick:

* Discipline for violations of the performance enhancing drug policy, including HGH, will be modified. A first violation will result in a suspension without pay of up to six games depending on the nature of the violation. Use of a diuretic or masking agent will result in a suspension without pay of two games. Use of a steroid, stimulant, HGH or other banned substance will result in a suspension without pay of four games. Evidence of an attempt to manipulate a test will result in a suspension without pay of six games.

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* A second violation of the steroid policy will result in a suspension without pay of 10 games.  A third violation will result in banishment for a minimum of two years.

* Players who test positive for banned stimulants in the off-season will no longer be suspended.  Instead, the player will be referred to the substance abuse program.  Players who test positive for banned stimulants during the season will continue to be suspended without pay for four games.

* In cases involving discipline for violations other than positive tests (for example, a violation of law), NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will retain his current disciplinary authority.  A player will have a right of appeal based on due process issues or a claim of disparate punishment.  This appeal will be heard by a member of the existing collective bargaining agreement appeals panel.

Previously, the collective bargaining agreement ratified in 2011 utilized the policies in place under the 2006 collective bargaining agreement

awilson@baltsun.com

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