The NFL Players Association will contest quarterback Quincy Carter's release by the Dallas Cowboys last week but has not decided exactly how it will challenge the move, union chief Gene Upshaw said yesterday.

"We're going to try to decide how we're going to proceed," Upshaw said. "Richard Berthelsen [the union's general counsel] and I are talking about it and we're going to decide within the next several days. There's going to be something, but we have to decide what the course of action is going to be."

Carter, the Cowboys' incumbent starter entering training camp, was released by the team on Wednesday, reportedly after a recent violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. A union source said immediately after the move that the NFLPA likely would file a grievance because the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union prohibits a player from being cut because of a failed drug test.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said during an interview on Friday at the club's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., that he was confident the move would withstand any scrutiny by the league or union. He said that he and Coach Bill Parcells decided to release Carter because of a series of developments, not one event, and he would talk to union officials about the matter if they inquired.

Upshaw declined to comment yesterday on whether he suspected the Cowboys were conducting drug tests on their players, which would be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The issue was raised in reports last week, and the Cowboys told the league they were not conducting such tests.

-- Mark Maske