Former NFL quarterback and current football analyst Brady Quinn hasn’t been afraid to make some rather compelling claims since he stepped away from the game, his latest being an absolute doozy.
Talking about the perceived rash of injuries around the NFL on the CBS Sports podcast "Roughing the Passer," Quinn claims that the use of human growth hormones (HGH) are to blame:
"I’m not going to be a whistleblower and I’m not accusing anyone of anything. There’s got to be something these guys are taking. That’s what I think, at least," Quinn said, via CBS Sports. "When you’re the starter, you have your annual [test] and you have one surprise [test] or one unknown [test]," Quinn said. "But beyond that, you don’t get tested quite as often. It’s really the backups or older players."
While Quinn stopped short of accusing any specific player of performance-enhancing drug use, he does say that the current system makes it easier for players to get away with the use of PEDs.
On Thursday’s episode of "The Herd," Colin Cowherd offered his opinion on Quinn’s assertion, including listing his three main reasons why people use drugs (watch video above).
Former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski, who in 2005 admitted using steroids during his 16-year career, later called into the show and strongly disagreed with Quinn’s overall arguments against PEDs, saying Quinn "doesn’t know what he’s talking about." Then Romanowski specifically touted the positives of HGH use.
By and large, NFL players have their annual test they have to go through during the offseason. The window for that test this year was from April 20 (imagine that) and early in the preseason. If the NFL has reason to believe a player is using, he will be randomly tested. Of course, this doesn’t take into account those already in one of the tiers of the substance abuse and/or banned substances program.
To Quinn’s larger point: While there have been a rash of injuries to some of the top players in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo included, there hasn’t necessarily been a major uptick in serious injuries around the league.
The higher profile the injury, the more attention we will pay to it. That’s the nature of the beast in the star-driven NFL.
As The Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston opined earlier this week, injuries around the NFL could have more to do with poor officiating and a lackluster overall product this season:
"Top league officials might ignore some of the issues because the NFL is a money-making monster gobbling up billions every year, but the on-the-field product has dropped in quality," Preston wrote. " A lot of games have lost appeal. Officiating has been horrendous and seems to get worse every week. Injuries continue to mount, especially to star players who are disappearing as fast as the fundamentals."
That could be the larger issue at hand here. As the overall product decreases on the field, injuries are going to become more prevalent. It’s a combination of a lack of technique when both running the ball and tackling.
Newly installed NFL rules that force defenders to go for the knee rather than above the chest area also factor into the equation. In this, the target a defensive player has when making a tackle is much more limited than in past eras. This in and of itself has led to more serious lower-body injuries around the NFL.
Quinn might be on to something with PED use. But the more obvious issues at hand are with what we actually see on the field itself, not the continual rumor-mongering surrounding PED use.
Check out Vincent’s other work on eDraft.com and follow him on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL.