NFL report seen as lacking

Congressman: Steroid investigation not as detailed as newspaper's

September 08, 2006|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,Sun reporter

WASHINGTON -- An NFL report to Congress failed to include important information involving a number of Carolina Panthers investigated for using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, a House Democrat said yesterday.

In October 2005, commissioner Paul Tagliabue gave Congress a copy of an investigative report concluding that Panthers players had used human growth hormone, testosterone cream and a powerful steroid called stanozolol in the months before their 2004 Super Bowl appearance.

The Charlotte Observer wrote extensively about the case Aug. 27, citing a steroids expert's findings that were made part of public court records in North Carolina.

The NFL told the newspaper that the findings did not provide "any new pertinent information" not already given to Congress.

"But this is not the case," Rep. Henry Waxman, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, wrote yesterday in a letter to the NFL.

"Indeed, a number of the findings contained in the Observer investigation were particularly surprising because they had not appeared in the investigation that was conducted by the NFL last year," Waxman wrote.

Those new assertions included information on other drugs allegedly used by players, and on the extent of testosterone abuse, wrote Waxman, of California.

In addition, Waxman wrote: "The NFL report indicated that the problem was restricted to players on the Carolina Panthers. But the Observer investigation reveals that players with two other teams - the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - received steroids ... either before joining or after leaving the Panthers."

The newspaper identified those players as Todd Steussie (St. Louis Rams) and Henry Taylor (Dolphins). Only Steussie is still in the league.

The steroids were allegedly prescribed by a physician, James Shortt, who has pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally prescribe steroids and hGH to NFL players.

On Wednesday, Washington Redskins offensive tackle Jon Jansen said on the HBO program Costas Now that perhaps 15 to 20 percent of NFL players use illegal performance-enhancing substances.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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