When you play a football game a few states away that ends at a little before midnight Eastern time, shower and get dressed before jumping right on a plane home, the last thing you want to do is take a drug test at the airport when you land.
It’s understandable why Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden wasn’t too thrilled.
The Steelers flew home after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, and Haden told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler they were told they needed to stop and give a urine sample for the NFL’s drug tests. The test came at 3 a.m. at the airport, he said.
Joe Haden and others had to give a sample upon landing
Haden said he was one of about seven Steelers players that had to give a sample upon landing. Kicker Chris Boswell is the only other one he named.
Haden tweeted about it early Tuesday morning.
Land in Pittsburgh 2 a Drug test!Seriously it’s 3 a.m. literally? Couldn’t wait til the morning? 😤
— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) September 25, 2018
When Fowler asked Haden, he wasn’t happy.
“We’ve been up all day, we have an 8:30 game, leave Tampa right after the game, we land at 3 in the morning, only thing I’m thinking about is getting back to the house,” Haden told ESPN. “Super tired. You try to sleep on the plane, woke up and have to take a test. It is what it is. I was thinking another couple of hours wouldn’t hurt. I ended up getting home at 4:15, then my little man was up in the room at 6.”
Players aren’t allowed to miss tests
The drug tests aren’t optional. Players can be punished for missing a test, and missing a test can be treated the same as a failed test. There are a lot of rules about the drug policy, and one is that players have four hours to provide a specimen. Players are tested randomly through the year, even the offseason. If a player travels internationally in the offseason, he still must “provide a street address and telephone number where he can be reached at all times.”
Haden said he was notified when he got on the plane that he’d be tested when the team landed, and that was awkward too, he told Fowler.
“We did it right at the airport, right when we land,” Haden said. “We go into basically where TSA would check us out. This dude is sitting there, we have a bathroom, and we do it just like the training room but we’re sitting in the damn lobby.”
Needless to say, Haden wasn’t too happy with how his Tuesday started off.
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