Dolphins players Dion Jordan and Reshad Jones will not be required to serve the remainder of their four-game suspensions under terms of the league’s new drug policy, the NFL’s website reported Friday night. But exactly when they will return to the team remained unclear to the Dolphins.
Hours after the NFL players union announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with the league on a new drug policy, the NFL said Friday night that no deal has been struck and “significant unresolved issues” remain.
According to ESPN, the major unresolved issue was whether players being reinstated from suspension would be eligible for games this weekend.
Jordan and Jones were hopeful about their suspensions being lifted in the next few days, but the Dolphins and the two players were still awaiting word from the league on Friday evening.
Jordan tested positive for an undisclosed amphetamine, but under the new agreement, use of amphetamines during the offseason no longer would result in a suspension for a first-time offense. But in-season positive tests for amphetamines would result in a suspension.
Jones has not disclosed the drug he took but recently complained that his positive test — which was appealed and upheld — was not for “anything that helped me play better. That’s not me. If that was me, I would have really gone out and gotten big and faster, but I didn’t. I don’t have to do that.”
Neither player has practiced with the team since the preseason, and the Dolphins would need to release two players to make room for them on the 53-man roster. Jordan has been working out in Los Angeles.
Other players whose suspensions reportedly will be lifted include Denver receiver Wes Welker and Dallas defensive back Orlando Scandrick. Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon’s season-long suspension will be cut to 10 games, according to multiple reports.
Among changes in the new drug policy, as detailed in an NFLPA news release:
▪ The NFL immediately will begin testing for human growth hormone. According to the NFLPA, players “have the right to challenge any aspect of the science” of the test. The collection of blood specimens is prohibited on game days.
▪ The threshold for a positive test for marijuana will increase to 35 nanograms per millimeter, up from the previous limit of 15 ng/ml. Players had complained that 15 ng/ml was too low, asserting they could test positive if they were merely in the vicinity of second-hand spoke. The NFLPA says “there will be additional steps for players who test positive for the substance before suspension.”
▪ Players who are convicted or plead guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol will receive a two-game suspension. But players rejected an NFL proposal to immediately suspend a player arrested for DUI before the case is adjudicated.
▪ An independent arbitrator will hear appeals for all positive drug test violations. The NFL and NFLPA will jointly select and pay three to five arbitrators.
▪ NFL and team employees, agents and NFLPA officials could face fines of up to $500,000 or termination if found to have breached confidentiality of players on drug-testing issues.
“We stood up and fought for what was right,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.