Game-day HGH testing a sticky proposition


Game-day HGH testing a sticky proposition

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Noon rolls around in an NFL stadium and players are in the throes of preparation for a 1 o'clock kick. Tape is being affixed. Stomachs are being emptied. Final preparations are being made. And here comes an NFL drug tester with a needle ready to take a tablespoon of blood. The NFL's new collective bargaining agreement includes HGH testing and the only test for that is a blood test. And that will and can be performed on game day. Adolpho Birch, the NFLs senior vice president for the law and labor policy said on Tuesday, "We have historically not been particularly desirous to use game-day testing because of the logistical issues involved much more so than any philosophical issues. In the NFL, game days have a lot of moving parts, so historically, we have adjusted the way we test in order to account for the fact that we do not test on game days.
"But we have now developed a solution that will allow us to do game-day testing in a way that is not overly disruptive to the clubs and respects the game-day process and all of the things going on."In a separate interview, Birch mentioned, "For this test, you need less than a tablespoon of blood."This should be interesting. "Pardon me, Vince? Vince Wilfork? Are those your size 15 cleats I see under the stall wall? When you're done, I need to take some blood. A teaspoon or so. Won't take long."There is some irony in what is going to be a burgeoning point of contention between players and the league. This is thecountry's most violent sport, a three-hour cavalcade of collisions and open wounds. Yet these pregame needles - which the rank-and-file players may not yet know are coming - will be a major annoyance. I think people wanted to get a deal done so badly that it was overlooked, said Steelers safety Ryan Clark. In that sense, players kind of got screwed, for lack of a better word."Screwed first. Needle second. "Theres every possibility that the program will be implemented by the first game of this season because thats what the parties have committed to," said Birch. "Thats what I have every expectation that we will accomplish."While players are currently trying to cram a full offseason of preparation into a five-week period, game-day blood drawing to test for HGH is something that's been lost in the shuffle. It may not be for long.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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