Houston Texans owner Bob McNair ordered the team’s staff to go through the locker room to make sure no players are using banned substances.
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USA Today first reported the Texans had staff members remove any products from lockers that are not approved by the NFL. Two of Houston’s players – left tackle Duane Brown and linebacker Brian Cushing – served four-game suspensions for different violations of the league’s policy on banned substances.
McNair said Friday he wanted to take a step to prevent future occurrences. He says the Texans have the right to control players while they’re in the team’s facilities.
”We concluded that one thing we can do is to just go through the locker room and make sure that if anybody is using anything, it’s a product from one of the approved manufacturers,” McNair said. ”That’s about all that we can do.”
Team spokesman Kevin Cooper said the procedure took place ”about a month ago.” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the decision ”is a club matter.”
The NFL Players Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown will return from his suspension when the Texans (4-2) play at Indianapolis (4-2) on Monday night. Cushing sat out Houston’s first four games.
Brown admitted using a supplement tainted with a substance banned by the league. He would not identify the supplement, but also admitted he didn’t get approval from the team before using it.
Cushing tested positive for HCG, a fertility drug. The 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year claims he never took the drug and that doctors explained that he has a unique medical condition that triggered the positive test.
McNair said Texans players have been repeatedly warned about the hazards of performance-enhancing substances – by a nutritionist before training camp and in subsequent meetings with head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan, general manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak.
McNair suggested the idea of finding and throwing away unapproved products to Smith.
”It was a collaborative effort of us trying to figure out what can we do, to make sure we’re doing everything we can,” Smith said. ”They’re grown men and they’re going to do what they’re going to do. But we’re trying to educate them and help them. You can’t control everything, all the time. We’re trying to do everything we can as an organization.”
Brown thinks the will have a lasting impact among the players.
”Everyone is responsible for what they put in their bodies,” Brown said. ”But I definitely think it will help guys out, and make them realize what’s right and what’s wrong. I’m sure it will be effective.”
Brown, Houston’s first-round draft pick in 2008, said he believes the team has the right to go through players’ lockers, without violating their privacy.
”Whatever you decide to bring into this stadium, whatever you decide to have in your locker, I feel like they have a right to know,” Brown said. ”There are a lot of things out there where you feel like it’s perfectly fine. Some things you could be taking, you could’ve taken for a while, and it can just come up one time and get you.