GREEN BAY, Wis. — The two most notable names in the Green Bay Packers locker room have a message for the NFL: Bring on HGH testing.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews both spoke highly in favor of the NFL and the NFL Players Association coming together to finalize an agreement to test for human growth hormone.
“I’ve been in favor of that for a long time now,” Matthews said Saturday in the locker room. “I’m glad it looks like we’re finally taking steps in the right direction to even the playing field. I know a lot of players have come out in favor of it. I’m looking forward to it.”
Matthews’ father played 19 seasons in the NFL from 1978-1996 and shared some perspective with his son about the topic.
“Speaking to my father about it when he played and they leveled the playing field back in the day, it’s always interesting to see the players who maintain their level of play and those who fall off,” Matthews said. “I also think it’s a step in the right direction in regard to sports in general.”
Since the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement went into effect two years ago, implementing a policy for HGH testing became only a matter of time. With so many of the league’s best players — including Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson — publicly supporting it recently, the process could be sped up.
“I think leveling the playing field is very important,” Rodgers said Friday. “I know when the new CBA got signed that was one of the important things that they were trying to work through and it seems like we’re now taking some action steps towards that. Anything that cleans the game up I think is great, not only for the players but for the fans and the example that we set for young players.”
Matthews wouldn’t comment specifically when asked if he and his teammates wonder which players across the league use HGH. Peterson said that testing for HGH would “bring a lot of people to light,” but Matthews was more focused on the caliber of players that he and his Packers teammates will be facing this season.
“We’ve got some talented players around here,” Matthews said. “There’s some studs around the league. We’ll see when the time comes. But for the time being, we’ve got to deal with some pretty good players out there.”