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Roger Goodell expects HGH testing to begin at start of season

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday he’s confident that the league and players’ union will agree to testing procedures in time for players to be blood-tested for human growth hormone in the opening week of the regular season.

“I think that’s what we want to work through in the next few weeks but we’re both committed to getting it done by the start of the regular season because we do believe in the integrity of the game,” Goodell told the league-owned NFL Network. “We do believe that’s a critical feature. We think it’s best for the health and safety of the players, also. So we’re going to get it done but we want to get it done right.”

Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, signed the sport’s new 10-year collective bargaining agreement Friday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Players ratified the labor deal Friday and agreed to the HGH testing provision. The goal is for the testing to begin the first week of the regular season, which opens Sept. 8, but the two sides first must work out the testing procedures.

Player representatives raised concerns about the testing during a conference call Wednesday night, and some players expressed skepticism after Thursday’s vote. But both league and union officials seemed confident the testing procedures will be worked out before the season.

“We put a target goal that we’re going to try to get it done,” Smith said Friday on the NFL Network. “At the same time, we want a procedure that is safe [and] reliable for the players.”

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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