Report: Congress asks about testing

Fourteen members of Congress, including former quarterback Heath Shuler, have sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and union president DeMaurice Smith seeking an expected start date and further explanation of proposed HGH testing for players, according to a report in the New York Times.

Negotiations on the program have hit a snag, but Congress is asking for Goodell and Smith for an explanation of their positions on the testing, according to the report. Shortly after the new CBA was signed in early August, both sides expressed hope that testing would begin by the start of the season, according to the Times report.

"We are therefore disappointed that the testing has not yet begun," said the letter, which was sent by the Professional Sports Caucus. "It is important that fans, and especially your youngest fans, believe that the NFL is doing all that it can to ensure the integrity of the game and the health of the players."

Sources from both the league and its players union told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen Sept. 16 that the NFL expected to have HGH testing within five to 10 days on a marginal level, even though no agreement has been reached between the two sides.

The union has balked at an aggressive program that would include game-day testing because it claims that agencies such as the World Anti-Doping Agency have not provided ample information to specific questions the NFLPA has on the scientific evidence it wants before moving forward with a full testing program.

Among the requests that have not been satisfied, according to union sources, is population studies that provide data on the normal ranges of human growth hormone naturally produced by the body.

Information from ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen was used in this report.