NFL

Panthers' Newton supports HGH testing

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton throws a pass at the practice held at the Carolina Panthers practice facility.
Panthers QB Cam Newton is in favor of the NFL testing for HGH.
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP)

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he has nothing to hide when it comes to testing for the human growth hormone.

The same goes for two of his top targets in the passing game -- Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen.

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All three players said they're in favor of the NFL working out an agreement with the players union on a reliable way to test for HGH, providing it's safe and not too intrusive. Earlier this week the two sides discussed appropriate procedures to test players for supplemental HGH, which is a banned substance but difficult to detect.

Newton said having blood drawn is ''not a big deal.''

''Whatever the NFL decides to do I'm all for it, whether HGH testing or any testing,'' Newton said. ''I'll be prepared to do the test.''

The NFL notified players in an email recently to be prepared in training camp to be tested for HGH for a study used to determine a good threshold for a positive HGH test.

The Panthers opened training camp Friday night and none of the players asked have said they've had blood drawn yet.

Olsen believes it's good for the game.

''I don't think we want to go down the road that baseball's got themselves in, trying to play catch-up,'' Olsen said.

Smith, entering his 13th season in the league, is one of the smallest receivers in the league at 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds.

He said he's all for making sure the cheaters are weeded out and to help level the playing field in a game where the men who play it keep getting bigger and bigger.

''I understand making the game cleaner,'' Smith said. ''If guys have things to hide, that's their personal problem. As for me, with the drug use in my family, I don't like needles. I don't like pills. I don't like any of those aspects. ''

None of the Panthers on the current roster have had any drug-related suspensions.

Olsen said he doesn't see any reason why there shouldn't be testing in place.

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However, he and Smith did express concern over the how the tests would be implemented from a practical purpose.

''You don't want someone showing up at your door with a needle to withdraw blood, so I do understand the (NFL)PA's point on that,'' Olsen said.

Smith said his biggest concern is how much blood would be drawn and whether it would affect a players' ability to return to the field and still give 100 percent.

''When you give blood there is a recommendation that 24 hours later you're not supposed to do stuff as a health risk,'' Smith said. ''If taking blood is the way to make (the game) clean, there has to be some protocol or procedure that is conducive to our conditioning and how much we work out. Those are important because you can't just take someone's blood and make them go run in the heat.

''You're looking at some liabilities and health risks. That's my only issue. If you take my blood on Wednesday morning, and I'm in full pads at noon at 110-degree heat with humidity just to see if you're clean, I won't do that.''

Olsen didn't say if he thinks players are using HGH, but the thought has crossed his mind.

And he'd like to see a level playing field.

''Sometimes I walk out on the field and go `Geez, I guess I didn't get those genes the day they were giving them out,''' Olsen said. ''Yeah, I would welcome (testing). I think it'd be great.''

Tagged: Panthers, Steve Smith Sr., Greg Olsen, Cam Newton

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