ST. LOUIS — As the NFL and NFL Players Association appear to move toward an agreement that will — eventually — start testing for human growth hormone, coaches and players have voiced their opinion at training camps nationwide.
“We’re in the situation now where we are trying to make this game better,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said after a rookie workout Monday. “Any steps we can possibly take, regardless of what the issue is, in that direction is good. I’m hearing the NFL and Players Association are working in conjunction with that, which is good. I’m sure they’ve got some work to do. But it would be good to head down that path.”
Rams who spoke to FOXSportsMidwest.com expressed a tentative optimism about HGH testing. But there are still concerns about how the tests will be conducted, an issue the league and the union must still iron out. Here’s what three Rams had to say:
Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis:
“I don’t care. I’ll let the PA [Players Association] and the NFL handle all that stuff. If they want to pull my blood, pull my blood. Just don’t do it before I go out and practice. I think that’s what a lot of players don’t want to do. How do you have a random test where you’re getting blood drawn and then they say, ‘Now go run.’ What are you talking about? You just took out a ton of my blood, you know?
“They will figure it out somehow. We just do whatever they tell us to do anyway.
“I think the one thing the players are concerned about is that they want to make sure everything is consistent. They want me to pull blood, go ahead. Just please don’t make it on a game day. Or a hard practice day. But I’m not against it by any means. Overall, the idea of it is a good thing. Let’s make this thing as clean as possible, because everybody wants an even playing field. I do, at least. You want everybody to be the exact same, no advantages. It’s whatever they want to do. They’re smarter than me though. They’ll figure it out.”
Rams tight end Jared Cook:
“I think it definitely should be done. It probably already should have been done. A lot of guys have no kind of, I guess, standards in the things they’ll do to get ahead. Sports are supposed to be competitive, of course. But it’s supposed to be a natural, competitive sport. They’ve gotta do whatever they need to do to get the cheaters out of here, to keep them from cheating.
“I really don’t know anything about HGH, or how they test for it. But there’s no place for it, really. … I wouldn’t want anybody I’m playing against being on something like that. If I’m not on it, if I’m not using it, then why should you?”
Rams offensive tackle Jake Long:
“If they can figure out the right way to test for it, yeah, I think it’s the right thing. Everybody is on the same playing field. No cheating, or stuff like that. If they can figure it out, everyone accepts it, and it’s tested the right way, then I think it would be a good thing.” Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org