NFL heated over Shanahan’s remarks on marijuana testing
DENVER – The NFL has fined Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan $25,000 for his comments about running back Travis Henry’s appeal of a one-year drug suspension.The NFL informed Henry in September that he failed a test for marijuana. He sued the NFL to avoid a suspension and won his appeal Tuesday.Henry argued that the league violated its substance abuse policy by not allowing an expert of his choosing to be present for the testing.Shanahan supported Henry’s appeal, saying he was convinced of his innocence after the player passed a polygraph test and had a hair sample come back negative for marijuana.NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail that Shanahan was fined by the commissioner “for inappropriate public comments about the substance abuse program in violation of league rules.”
Broncos spokesman Dave Gaylinn declined to comment on the fine after the team’s practice Friday. He said any statements would come from the league’s office.The league has called Henry’s defense of hair samples and lie detector tests “irrelevant and unconvincing,” but said the substance program is based on the highest standards and respecting players’ rights. League officials said Henry will remain in the league’s substance abuse program. He served a four-game drug-related suspension while with the Tennessee Titans in 2005.The Broncos signed Henry to a five-year, $22.5 million free agent contract that included $12 million in guarantees this offseason after the Titans released him in a cost-cutting move.He’s had a rocky season. Besides battling the suspension, Henry has struggled with injuries. He led the league in rushing early in the year before missing games because of sore ribs and a slightly torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.Henry returned Dec. 2 in a 34-20 loss to Oakland, carrying the ball 15 times for 49 yards and two touchdowns. He also lost a fumble, and had another bound away when he and Jay Cutler messed up a handoff exchange.Stokely, Walker expected to play Sunday vs. Chiefs
Brandon Stokley and Javon Walker practiced with the Denver Broncos on Friday and both receivers are expected to play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.”Both should be able to go if there’s no setback,” Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. “We’ll just have to wait and see how they are tomorrow.’They are listed as questionable on the injury report. Both are dealing with knee injuries that kept them out of most practices this week. Walker practiced Thursday, but Friday was the first time for Stokley.”Yeah, I felt pretty good,” said Stokley, who is second on the team with 39 catches for 614 yards. “Hopefully, it won’t get real sore tomorrow and I’ll continue to get better.”Hall ReadyBroncos RB Andre Hall said he’s ready to take on kick-return duties after an ankle injury held him out of Denver’s 34-20 loss to Oakland in Week 13.
“I’m little beat up, but I’m OK,” Hall said.Hall has been a member of the Broncos’ running-back merry-go-round this year. Henry and backup Selvin Young have missed time with injuries, and Hall took advantage of his opportunity. Against Tennessee in Week 11, he rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown, and a week later in Chicago he had 98 yards on 26 carriesFerguson Doubtful Broncos safety Nick Ferguson (knee) is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Kansas City.
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