TAMPA, JAN. 25 -- A Buffalo Bills player tested positive for steroids soon before the AFC championship game on Jan. 20 but has not been suspended by the league, according to a report by Channel 7 in Washington.

WJLA reporter Roberta Baskin said tonight that the station "learned from reliable sources" that a Bills player tested positive for steroids sometime last week. Baskin said she was unable to confirm what player it was or the amount of drug detected in the player's system at the time of the test. A league source indicated that the player was not a Bills starter.

The league's policy on steroids specifically states that when a first time player tests positive for steroid use during the regular season he will be suspended for a minimum of four games. The player could also be suspended for up to four playoff games.

The second time a player tests positive, the policy says, he will be suspended for the balance of the season, or four games, whichever is greater.

Which means that if Baskin's report is correct the player should have been suspended and would have missed Sunday's Super Bowl between the Bills and the New York Giants.

Joe Browne, the NFL's vice president of communications, said today there has been no violation of the league's steroid policy.

"There has been no violation of the league's steroid policy by either a Bills or Giants player," Browne said. "The policy has not been violated."

When asked if one of his players had tested positive for steroids Bills General Manager Bill Polian told The Washington Post, "I would suggest you call the {NFL} commissioner on that. We have a confidentiality policy and I'm not going to breach it."

League sources said last night that while one of the Bills did test positive for a low amount of steroids, no coverup of the results was intended. Rather the sources said there was confusion about how to implement the steroids policy, although the set guidelines seem rather self-explanatory. Also, the sources said, the league was still contemplating the possibility of a legal challenge by the player to the league's policy.

In her report Baskin quoted Browne as saying there has been no violaton of the steroid policy by a Bills player. But, according to the television station, Browne would not deny that a Bills player tested positive for steroids.

"Just because a player tested positive doesn't mean that he is suspended," Baskin said Browne told the station. "There may be other steps the league has to take before invoking a suspension."

One year ago Baskin reported major problems in the NFL's drug policy including mishandled player specimens, breached confidentiality and selective enforcement. The report led to the removal of the league's drug advisor, Forest Tennant, who was replaced by Lawrence Brown.