Biggs: Players ask Goodell about supplement hotline

MINNEAPOLIS—The Chicago Bears have been waiting for two seasons to see the Minnesota Vikings play without the Williams Wall, or better yet to get a crack at their NFC North rival without its imposing defensive tackles.

But Pat Williams and Kevin Williams remain in an appeal process for their StarCaps case, holding off a four-game suspension imposed by the NFL for a violation of the league’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

The Williamses will be in action this afternoon when the Bears play the Vikings at the Metrodome. Their case is not expected to be resolved until the offseason with the Williamses challenging the legality of the drug tests in state court here. Hanging in the balance is the status of New Orleans defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith, ensnared in the same StarCaps mess with the league intent on being even handed in its discipline.

During commissioner Roger Goodell’s visit to Halas Hall, Chicago headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill., on Friday, he was asked about the hotline number the league has for players to call and inquire about supplements. Defensive end Alex Brown raised the issue, telling Goodell he called the number and got a non-response. Basically, Brown said, he was told he’s responsible for what is in his system, something everyone knows.

“When we call up there it is very frustrating to hear, `Well, you’re responsible for whatever you put in your body,’’’ Brown said. “I already know that. I heard it a couple times [when other guys told me they got the same response] and I thought I would call it and see and, yeah, that’s what happened. It’s terrible, that’s the answer we get, but hopefully it will change.

“What I think they should do, whatever you are calling in about, they should actually get that product, run tests on it and see and then get back to us. But that’s my opinion. I am a very small part of the NFL.

“I ended up not taking [the product I called about]. I am real nervous about that stuff. I don’t want to tarnish what I have worked so long for, and that’s my image and the way people view me and my livelihood. I would rather not take it and just take EAS products, which is what the league, I guess they have an agreement with the company they won’t put anything bad in it, says is OK to take.’’

Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, the Bears’ representative to the NFLPA, said he thought Goodell proved he’s trying to get input from all sides on a variety of issues. Hillenmeyer understands the grey area that comes with the supplement hotline.

“What they’re saying is the hotline’s role is you call and say `I’m taking Astroplabazobyzene, is that legal?’ `Yes,’’’ Hillenmeyer said. ``It’s not, I’m taking ABC Muscle Builder from this company X.’ They’re going to say, `According to what is on the label, you’re fine but we don’t know what is in there.’’’

Hillenmeyer’s point is you can get a straight answer regarding a specific chemical or drug, but the supplement hotline hasn’t tested out the hundreds of products on the market that players may consider using to supplement their workouts.

“I think [Goodell’s visit] it was beneficial,’’ Brown said. “He said we would look into it so we can get more information on stuff. Hopefully that happens.”

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