National Football League teams are split over whether to include drug testing in their routine end-of-season physicals, and those teams insisting on them are meeting strong resistance from their players.
Postseason physicals are a way for teams to protect themselves against injury liability suits and to determine whether players need further medical attention. Some teams require them, some do not.
But urinalysis and other forms of drug testing never have been a part of postseason tests. The NFL Players Association says the collective bargaining agreement signed in 1982 prohibits them, but the owners' bargaining unit interprets the agreement differently.
Last Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals ordered drug tests as part of their physicals. When most players refused to submit to the drug test, the team notified them they were being fined $1,000 each.
On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers made a drug test an optional part of the physical. "Each man must dig down in his conscience and decide what he wants to do," Coach Forrest Gregg said.
The Buffalo Bills also included voluntary urinalysis in their postseason physicals. The New Orleans Saints made a drug test mandatory. Most of the Saints refused to undergo it, and the team said they would be subject to a $1,000 fine.
Spokesmen for the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams said there were no plans to begin drug testing. . . .
The New England Patriots have reconsidered offering NFL playoff tickets to five men who were nearly electrocuted when a stolen goal post touched electrical wires as it was being hauled away from the stadium.
The fans, celebrating the victory that put the Patriots into the playoffs, were burned when a goal post they had taken from Sullivan Stadium touched a power line nearby, police said.
Team officials have decided to withhold the offer for playoff tickets until police clarify whether the fans were breaking the law when they were hurt.