NEW YORK - The NFL has joined athletic and medical groups in supporting legislation that would regulate ephedra and other dietary supplements.
The U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and other medical groups also support the legislation introduced in Congress by Rep. Tom Osborne of Nebraska, the longtime Cornhuskers football coach, and several others.
"We have been outspoken about the health risk and dangers due to the presence of anabolic steroid precursors and ephedra in dietary supplements," said Harold Henderson, executive director of the league's management council.
The league banned ephedra after the death of Vikings offensive tackle Korey Stringer during training camp in 2001. Players are tested and can be suspended after the first violation, as rookie Julius Peppers of Carolina was for the final four games of last season after he tested positive for the supplement.
The league is looking into using one authorized supplier for dietary supplements. Peppers and other players have said they unknowingly took ephedra because they were unaware it was in a supplement they were using.
The move for legislation intensified this spring when ephedra was linked to the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, who collapsed and died after a workout in February.
BENGALS: Running back Corey Dillon is expected to join the weekend minicamp after skipping workouts last month. Dillon was the only starter who failed to show up for last month's voluntary minicamp, the first since Marvin Lewis became coach.
BILLS: Running back Willis McGahee, who was chosen with the 23rd pick in the draft on Saturday, arrived for minicamp. McGahee, who is recovering from surgery after tearing three ligaments in his left knee in January, is not ready to suit up for practice, but he plans to spend the three-day minicamp watching from the sideline. "I'll be out there," he said. "I don't know what they'll have me doing. But I'll be there watching."
DOLPHINS: Linebacker Derrick Rodgers has been excused from minicamp this weekend while the team tries to trade him. If the Dolphins can't trade Rodgers, a six-year starter, they will release him June 1. He became expendable when Miami acquired linebacker Junior Seau in a trade last month. The Dolphins don't want to risk Rodgers getting injured. "I talked to Derrick on Wednesday and told Derrick that because of the conversations going on with a potential trade, he would be excused from participating," coach Dave Wannstedt said.
JAGUARS: The team agreed to a deal that will keep defensive end Tony Brackens on the roster for next season. The Jaguars restructured his contract, giving him an incentive-filled deal that will drop his salary-cap figure by almost $4-million, to about $4.5-million. It was the only way they could keep Brackens, who missed most of last season with a knee injury and had risky microfracture surgery on the knee. He won't be able to play until training camp.
PACKERS: Center Frank Winters, a 17-year veteran, signed a $755,000 one-year contract. Winters, 39, has played for the Packers since 1992 but was placed on waivers Monday because of cap constraints so the team could sign him at a smaller salary.
RAMS: Receiver Mike Furrey of the Arena League's New York Dragons signed. Furrey is leading the AFL this season with 108 receptions, 1,574 receiving yards and 47 touchdowns.
RAVENS: Former Bears receiver Marcus Robinson agreed to terms. Robinson, released by Chicago two weeks ago, is entering his seventh season and has 187 career receptions for 2,695 yards and 20 touchdowns in 28 starts.
REDSKINS: Defensive end Bruce Smith reported for minicamp and said he plans to remain with the team for a 19th NFL season, postponing retirement for another year.
CFL: The Montreal Alouettes released running back Lawrence Phillips. The team did not explain why the former NFL first-round draft pick was released, saying in a statement that he "did not meet the minimum behavioral standards expected" of the organization.