Players OK new NFL drug policy; Cowboys' Orlando Scandrick, Broncos' Wes Welker could play Sunday

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NFL players approved the terms of a new drug policy agreement with the league on Friday, a change that could result in the lifting of suspensions for Dallas Cowboys starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick and Denver Broncos wideout Wes Welker, perhaps in time for them to play Sunday.

Among the policy changes, which include blood testing for human-growth hormone, a positive test for amphetamines in the offseason will no longer fall under the performance-enhancement drugs category. Instead, a positive test for amphetamines in the offseason will drop into the substance-abuse policy, and first-time offenders aren't subject to game suspensions. The new policy will more than double the threshold for what would constitute a positive test for marijuana.

The league has yet to formally approve the changes, and there appear to be hurdles left, reports ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

 

Scandrick missed the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, the first of a four-game ban he originally received from the league. His positive performance-enhancement drug test was triggered after he reportedly took MDMA, sometimes referred to as "Molly." Scandrick apologized in a statement, saying he "never knowingly took a performance enhancing drug/banned stimulant while on vacation in Mexico." The drug was reportedly laced with an amphetamine which caused the positive drug test.

Denver Broncos wideout Wes Welker received the same punishment on Sept. 2 for violating the league's PED policy. Like Scandrick, he reportedly tested positive for an amphetamine. Welker denied a report that said he took Molly while at the Kentucky Derby in May and blasted the league's "flawed" drug policy.

Welker cleared the concussion protocol – an injury he suffered in Denver's third preseason game, his third concussion in 10 months – the Denver Post's Mike Klis reported on Friday.  

The Broncos host division rival Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday; the Cowboys travel to Tennessee.

"This is an historic moment for our players and our league," NFLPA president Eric Winston told the Associated Press. "We have collectively bargained drug policies that will keep the game clean and safe, but also provide our players with an unprecedented level of fairness and transparency."