Several NFL Players Test Positive Under Testing Policy

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IOctober 24, 2008

The Denver Broncos have a bye this week, but there's news out of Denver that could change the rest of the NFL season.

According to FOX 31's Josina Anderson, the NFL has recently experienced a “rash of positive tests under the steroid policy as a result of players taking water pills to lose weight," according to what's being called a high-ranking NFL source.

Anderson is reporting that six to 10 players are suspected to be involved, but ESPNEWS is saying it could be over 15.  Also according to ESPNEWS, several players, including New Orleans Saints Will Smith and Deuce McAllister, have obtained counsel.

A reported three or four players, including Smith and McAllister, are all on the Saints roster.

"Most of them tested positive for Bumetanide," according to the league source. "The last few tested positive for another substance that works similarly.”

"Bumetanide makes you excrete a lot of salt and water.  it dilutes the urine and makes it very difficult to test for illegal substances.  There are some patients who use or abuse it where weight is critical," Dr. Norman Smith told FOX Sports.

However, the NFL source believes several players used it for weight loss.

“I don’t think many of them are attempting to cheat, or even know it is on the list. We are talking big guys who have likely never seen a steroid in their life. My understanding of the steroid policy is that it was intended to catch cheaters or people using performance enhancing substances to gain a competitive edge. These guys don’t fall into that category,” said the source.

According to league rules, the first offense of breaking the drug testing rules is a four-game suspension. 

Neither McAllister's nor Smith's agent was available for comment to either Anderson or ESPN.

It will be very interesting what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to say, and most importantly, what he'll do to the players involved.