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Cowboys coach Wilson added to HGH suspensions

BY BOB GLAUBER | bob.glauber@newsday.com

 

September 2, 2007

One prominent NFL player and a longtime assistant coach have been suspended for violating the league's substance- abuse policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs.

 

Patriots safety Rodney Harrison has been suspended for the first four games without pay and Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who reportedly purchased human growth hormone while working for the Bears from 2004-2006, has been suspended five games without pay. Harrison, who reportedly also purchased HGH, will miss the Patriots' season opener against the Jets next Sunday at Giants Stadium, and Wilson will not be on the sideline when the Cowboys host the Giants later that night.

 

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said both suspensions stemmed from an investigation by the Albany district attorney's office in connection with an Internet ring involving performance-enhancing drugs and allegedly involving athletes from several sports.

 

 

Aiello indicated that Harrison and Wilson are the only active NFL employees involved in the investigation. A third, former Steelers team physician Richard Ryzde, has been implicated in the probe. The Steelers parted ways with Ryzde after he was named several months ago.

 

 

 

Harrison admitted in a hastily arranged conference call with reporters Friday night that he used a banned substance - reported to be HGH - but said he did not use it for performance-enhancing reasons. "I want to make it clear that never once did I take steroids," he said. "I did admit to the commissioner that I took a banned substance."

 

The NFL does not permit the use of HGH but does not test specifically for it. The league and NFL Players Association believe there is no reliable way to test for it through urine samples, and the players' union will not permit the league to test for it through blood samples.

 

Wilson said in a statement released by the Cowboys that the "situation was the result of an uninformed decision that I made. I accept responsibility for my mistake. Clearly, as a coach and former player, I had no intention of trying to circumvent the boundaries of competition or fair play. I now realize that this is something I should not have done. I acted without proper medical supervision and I would urge others not to make a similar mistake."

 

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wilson, a former Vikings quarterback, had "absolutely no intention of breaking any league rules."

 

"He has a long track record of quality service to the NFL and community service to the cities where he has played and coached," Jones said. "We recognize and support the importance placed on these matters by the National Football League."

 

On Friday, 11 World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers were punished for ordering drugs, mostly human growth hormone, that violate the organization's drug policy. WWE said it issued the suspension notices based on information from the Albany district attorney's office.

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