Four of the NFL draft's biggest names, B.J. Raji, Vontae Davis, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, were linked last week to positive drug tests at February's Scouting Combine.
The agents for Davis, Cushing and Matthews strongly challenged those reports on Friday, and the agency that represents Raji did the same on Monday night.
Athletes First chief executive Brian Murphy, with vice president and general counsel Mark Humenik, provided this statement to Packer Report and other media outlets.
"We issued a statement last week that we do not like to comment on rumors from unnamed sources. Unfortunately, rumors of a failed drug test by our client B.J. Raji were erroneously reported as ‘fact' by at least two Web sites, even though neither the NFL nor B.J. confirmed the rumor's accuracy in any way, shape, or form. The complete facts are as follows:
"Last Thursday, at least two Web sites (SI.com and NFLDraftBible.com) published malicious rumors — characterized as fact — that our client B.J. Raji failed a drug test at the NFL Combine, citing unnamed ‘NFL team sources.' On Friday, the NFL issued a statement challenging the foundation for these reports and indicating that neither the League, nor its member clubs, know the results of drug or steroid tests taken at the 2009 Combine and that the independent medical advisors who administer the tests have notified in writing those players — and only those players — who tested positive at the Combine.
"B.J. Raji has NOT received any letter from the NFL or the Independent Administrator indicating that he tested positive for drugs at the Combine. Further, after these unsubstantiated reports surfaced, B.J. contacted the independent medical advisor's office (Dr. Brown) to confirm that he had not been sent any letter and has not been entered into the NFL's Drug Intervention Program. B.J. did not receive a return call from Dr. Brown, but learned today that Dr. Brown is not allowed to talk to any player directly unless that player was sent a letter informing him that he had failed a drug test at the NFL Combine and/or been instructed to contact Dr. Brown. That Dr. Brown will not talk to B.J. — as Dr. Brown would otherwise be expected to do under the NFL Substance Abuse Policy if B.J. had failed a drug test or being sent a letter directing him to contact the medical advisor's office — is further proof that these reports are untrue.
"In short and as we have known all along, the media reports accusing B.J. of a failed drug test at the Combine are false. Given the cowardly attacks and damage to B.J.'s character as a result of these vicious rumors, we sincerely hope that the responsible parties are discovered and held accountable for their actions. For the sake of B.J. and his family, we look forward to putting this hurtful allegation behind them and seeing B.J. fulfill his lifetime dream of being drafted by an NFL team."
As of Monday morning, SI.com — which broke the "news" about Raji — had neither pulled the story nor written an update with Murphy's statement. NFLDraftBible has not pulled back from any of its drug claims.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport