- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - NFL players have ratified a new, 10-year collective bargaining agreement, and two people familiar with the negotiations tell The Associated Press the contract allows the NFL to become the first major U.S. professional sports league to use blood testing for human growth hormone.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made about the HGH tests.

Most of the deal to end the NFL’s 4 1/2-month lockout was agreed to last month, but certain elements still must be ironed out. Final CBA language was in place Thursday afternoon, and shortly before 5 p.m. EDT, players had voted to approve it.

The NFL will be allowed to check each player annually for HGH _ but only after the union is confident in the way testing and appeals will work.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Two people familiar with the negotiations tell The Associated Press the NFL will become the first major U.S. professional sports league to use blood testing for human growth hormone under the final language of the collective bargaining agreement.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.

The CBA’s wording was completed Thursday, and players have started voting to ratify.

The NFL will be allowed to check each player annually for HGH _ but only after the union is confident in the way testing and appeals will work.

The aim is to have that worked out in time to start HGH testing by Week 1 of the regular season, the people told the AP.

Most of the deal to end the NFL’s 4 1/2-month lockout was agreed to last month.


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