Shutdown Corner - NFL

Anthony Gonzalez thinks lots and lots of players are using HGHThe NFL plans to start blood testing its athletes for HGH this year, perhaps as early as Week 1 of the regular season. From there, the NFL envisions it as a random, year-round thing.

At least one NFL player thinks that's going to mean that we'll see a lot of players either get caught or magically start shrinking.

Anthony Gonzalez(notes) of the Colts told Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star that he believes the use of HGH is fairly prevalent in the NFL right now.

"How many guys are on it, that's hard to say," Gonzalez said. "It could be 10, it could be a hundred or more; either way, it's too much. But around the league, you see guys on Sunday, and things don't add up; they don't look right. I see guys I saw in college, now they're in the NFL and they look totally different.

"I don't know how prevalent it is at this point, but to say that it's not being used, that's wrong."

I don't know who ever said that it wasn't being used, and Anthony Gonzalez is in a way better position to observe than I am. Still, it feels a little reckless of him to start throwing out numbers like "a hundred or more," based just on what he sees around the league. It's kind of like Charles Oakley guessing that 60 percent of NBA players were smoking marijuana.

Anyway, here come the needles, so we'll see. David Epstein at SI writes that the NFL has picked a good time to start testing, as the test is better and more reliable now than it's ever been.

Not everyone's in love with the idea, though. Ryan Clark of the Steelers is a little wary of the blood test, calling it "way too intimate" and wondering if maybe the league and teams could use information gleaned from a blood draw against players in other ways. It's an understandable concern (though sometimes I think the Steelers would disagree with the league if they announced a plan to give Christmas cookies to the elderly), but I think his reservations are trumped by the need for testing, both in public perception and in "cleaning up" the game.

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