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2011 NFL Lockout: Drug Testing, Injuries And The Reality Of The Lockout

Yesterday afternoon Edggy posted a FanShot linking to a Pro Football Talk article discussing some of the effects of the lockout. Mike Florio basically reposted the content of a letter from earlier this month that has been discussed at different points here at NN. I actually have a copy of that letter courtesy of the NFLPA and you can read it in its entirety in this PDF.

For today I wanted to pull out a couple of the effects of the lockout as described by the NFL to its players:

5.  "Testing and treatment obligations under the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse and Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances will cease."

10.  "Except for injured players rehabilitating from football-related injuries, the Club will not provide, arrange or pay for facilities, equipment or other services relating to training or workouts.  Injured players will receive a separate letter regarding their treatment and rehabilitation during a lockout.  Clubs will not provide or pay for treatment for non-football related injuries or illnesses."

I shot a tweet off to Greg Aiello, a PR person for the NFL, about number ten. My understanding was that any rehabbing players were cut off from team facilities no matter what. This letter would seem to indicate otherwise, but it's not entirely clear what number ten really means in the letter. If Mr. Aiello gets back to me (he's replied to my tweets a couple times), I'll add an update to this post.

Where this gets particularly interesting is number five's statement that drug testing will cease during the lockout. I don't think this means every player in the league is going to out and juice up or smoke as much weed as they possibly can before testing resumes. However, it does raise some questions about potential conduct over the course of the lockout.

I can't honestly believe every player will follow the honor system when it comes to drug testing, whether it be steroids or various illegal narcotics. I'd like to believe the players will not let it change how they conduct themselves, but I think it would be foolish to think that. The question is how this ends up playing out as the lockout grows longer. I suppose technically it could end at any minute, which could be enough to keep some players in line. But I have to believe there are players out there that will use this to their advantage. Am I the only person here who thinks that?