NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL reached an agreement with the players association on changes to its performance-enhancing drug policy, including the addition of human growth hormone testing, which will allow the Broncos' Wes Welker and two other previously suspended players to return to their teams this week.
Under the new rules announced Wednesday, players who test positive for banned stimulants in the offseason will no longer be suspended. Instead, they will be referred to the substance abuse program.
Welker, Dallas Cowboys defensive back Orlando Scandrick and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey had been suspended for four games.
Testing for HGH was originally agreed upon in 2011, but the players had balked at the science in the testing and the appeals process for positive tests. Under the new deal, appeals of positive tests in the PED program will be heard by third-party arbitrators jointly selected by the NFL and union. Appeals will be processed more expeditiously under altered procedures
Testing should begin by the end of the month.