To visitors in NFL locker rooms, he looks like another middle-aged man with a crisp shirt and a military haircut. But to the players, coaches and trainers, he is something more - he is an NFL drug program agent, better known in pro football circles as the “P-man” because he collects the urine samples that are screened to determine if players are using performance-enhancing drugs or street dope. When the DPA comes calling, it means a player has to slip into another room with him, remove his shirt, drop his pants and underwear below the knees, and fill a little plastic cup. For some, the DPA is a necessary nuisance. To others, he’s bad news. The DPAs are the NFL’s front-line warriors in its battle against performance-enhancing substances and recreational drugs, men whose competence and honesty is not negotiable – if urine samples aren’t properly collected and transported to the labs where they are analyzed, the integrity of the league’s program is fundamentally compromised. For years, anti-doping experts have called on the NFL to farm out urine collection to an outside agency to remove potential conflicts of interest, but league officials have always resisted; the NFL had a tough and… Read full this story
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