Fooch's Update: The Seahawks were also part of the surprise inspections. Additionally, I spoke with the 49ers shortly after the game, and they passed along this statement:
"The San Francisco 49ers organization was asked to participate in a random inspection with representatives from the DEA Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. The 49ers medical staff complied and the team departed the stadium as scheduled"
CBS Sports and ESPN are both reporting the Drug Enforcement Agency is in the middle of investigating claims of inappropriate distribution of painkillers by NFL training staffs. According to Outside the Lines, the DEA is conducting surprise inspections of visiting team training and medical staffs. OTL reported the DEA was "particularly interested in questioning the medical staffs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers" this weekend during their respective road games in Maryland and New Jersey. The DEA is reportedly going to investigate other road teams as well.
Per the source, the DEA has reason to believe the CSA is not being adhered to by NFL medical staffs, including treating players outside their "registered location," as well as not fully documenting the use of painkillers by all players and following all requirements of the Controlled Substances Act. With that in mind, the DEA agents are requesting permission to inspect the medical bags of prescriptions drugs, doing so in some instances at the stadiums while the teams were going through Transportation Safety Administration screening in order to get on charter flights home.
The NFL is in the midst of a lawsuit in which former players contend the league illegally supplied them with painkillers and narcotics to get them back on the field. The DEA investigation was reportedly triggered by the lawsuit. The federal agency is investigating teams to make sure they are following the rules of the Controlled Substances Act in how they distribute such substances. The Washington Post is reporting the DEA had reason to look at those two teams in particular, but that the investigation was not restricted to them. Former 49ers Jeremy Newberry and Ron Stone are two ex-49ers in the lawsuit contending this happened during their time in San Francisco.
Steroids and other such performance enhancing drugs have long been the primary topic of discussion surrounding controlled substances in the NFL. However, the use of pain killers can be viewed as a more important subject of discussion. Pain killers numb a player to what could be a significant physical issue. It gets the player back on the field, potentially leading to serious long-term damage.
This is a big story to follow in the coming weeks and months. It very well could die down a bit, but it is an important development.