If the Saints thought they could leave their problems—including the loss of running back Reggie Bush during their loss to the Panthers last week—behind as they left for England, they were sadly mistaken.
Word broke yesterday out of Denver that a number of players—which now is speculated to be as high as 18—recently failed a drug test when they used Bumetanide, which can help a player lose weight but also can mask steroids and other drugs in one's system, or a similar drug.
Along with Deuce McAllister and Will Smith, Saints defensive end Charles Grant has also been named. Texans long snapper Bryan Pittman, according to The Boston Globe, also failed the test.
The NFL source that contributed first to the story by Josina Anderson, says they believe the players didn't know Bumetanide was a banned substance, and simply took it for weight loss.
My problem with that is NFL teams have a brigade of trainers and club doctors, and it's not like the list of banned substances are kept in Commissioner Roger Goodell's top right desk drawer, locked. The players and their teams have access to it. If they want to know if something they're putting in their bodies is illegal, all they have to do is ask.
“These men are entitled to confidentiality and entitled to go through an appeal process, so the [Fox 31] report...is completely unfair," said attorney David Cornwell, who is representing some of the players who tested positive. "The cornerstone of any workplace testing program, especially one in professional sports with high-profile people, is confidentiality. The recent reports about pending appeals by players who are alleged to have used weight loss supplements reflect the most egregious violation of the NFL steroid policy. The foundation of the policy is both a player's right to appeal and an absolute right to confidentiality. By leaking this story, the 'source' is clearly attempting to put their thumb on the scale of justice and harm these men."
Grant isn't a stranger to controversy this year, as he's facing involuntary manslaughter charges after a pregnant woman was shot and killed during an incident earlier in the year in Blakely, Ga.
To add to the Saints' despair, center Jonathon Goodwin is doubtful for play Sunday with a knee injury, along with a questionable defensive tackle Brian Young, who has both a foot injury and a knee injury. Both sat out of practice Friday.
The good news? Cornerback Mike McKenzie, guard Jahri Evans, and tight end Jeremy Shockey all practiced Friday and are expected to play.