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Sammy Morris suspended 4 games


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Dolphins backup running back Sammy Morris will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's steroid policy, his attorney said Thursday.

 

Morris tested positive for ephedrine on Oct. 17, 2005, the day after a 27-13 loss to the Buccaneers. Ephedrine is on the banned stimulant list of the NFL's Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances, which calls for a suspension for the first violation. The league's substance-abuse policy calls for admission into the program and counseling for first-time offenders.

 

Morris' attorney, David Cornwell, who helped draft the policies while employed by the NFL, said Morris had taken Sudafed, an over-the-counter cold remedy, to help combat his chronic sinusitis and upper respiratory disorders, and the positive results were due to inadequate testing by the laboratory.

 

Sudafed contains pseudoephedrine, which also violates the policy unless prescribed by a member of the team's medical staff. According to Cornwell, Dolphins trainer Kevin O'Neill confirmed during the appeals process that Morris ingested the Sudafed he prescribed on Oct. 16, and that he had treated Morris for the same condition on several other occasions.

 

Because the suspension applies only to the regular season, Morris started Thursday's exhibition game against the St. Louis Rams but left in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury to his left foot.

 

Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene declined comment, citing the policy's confidentiality clause, and Morris was unavailable.

 

According to a source, the Dolphins have called around the NFL this week trying to add another running back. Morris' suspension moves Travis Minor and Kay-Jay Harris up the depth chart behind starter Ronnie Brown. Coach Nick Saban had repeatedly said he would like to bolster the team's depth at running back, but that he was satisfied the trio could fill the void if Brown was injured. Some veteran running backs should become available via trade or waivers Saturday, when teams must trim rosters to 53 players. However, it's unlikely that any of those backs are as accomplished as Morris.

 

During the appeals process, Cornwell argued that the results were unreliable because the test failed to indicate the presence of the pseudoephedrine that Morris had taken less than 24 hours earlier and should have still been detectable in his system. He also argued that confirmation by the NFL's hearing officer, Jay Moyer, and the league's consulting toxicologist that the laboratory could not prove its ability to distinguish pseudoephedrine from ephedrine was ground for dismissal.

 

Morris' case was first heard on May 12, then appealed on July 21. Cornwell said he recently received a one-sentence letter from Moyer stating the appeal was rejected.

 

"Moyer abused his discretion as judicial officer by failing to rule in accordance with his findings that the [NFL] management council failed to carry its burden to establish a violation of the policy," Cornwell said.

 

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment.

 

Cornwell, who has defended suspended Dolphins running back Ricky Williams during his appeals of positive drug tests, also contended that Dr. John Lombardo, the NFL's adviser for the steroids policy, didn't notify Morris of the violation in a timely fashion, as the policy requires, and possibly cost the unrestricted free agent a lucrative contract during the offseason.

 

Cornwell claimed Lombardo knew of the failed test on Nov. 3 and didn't notify Morris until Nov. 15. The follow-up letter of discipline didn't reach Morris until Dec. 13, when there were only three games left in the season. Had he been notified with more games left, Cornwell said Morris would have accepted the suspension, though not admitted guilt, in order to put the matter behind him and preserve his value during free agency. Instead, Cornwell said teams passed on Morris because they couldn't be assured the running back would be eligible to play the entire 2006 season.

 

"What I'm concerned about is this administration and the application of this steroid and drug program in the NFL has devolved to the level of a barely competent performance and players are paying dearly for it," Cornwell said. "It's negatively impacting their careers and earning power, and they need to do a better job."

 

Morris, 29, gained a career-high 532 yards with six touchdowns in 2004 when filling in for the retired Williams. Last season, he gained 58 yards on 16 carries, and was used more as a fullback, but led the team with 16 special-team tackles.

 

 

 

Source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/footbal...-dolphins-front

 

Looks like they definitley need a backup now. Ron Dayne would be real nice :)

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Here's what I don't understand:

 

What the hell do we need a 3rd down back for? No RB on this team can catch, block, or run better than Ronnie Brown. Why would you want someone else in there on 3rd down?

 

I'm not saying Ronnie should be out there every play this season, but if he has to carry a slightly heavier load the first 4 weeks, I think he can handle it. Meanwhile, Minor will make for a nice change of pace.

 

I'm not against a trade, but at the same time I don't want to give up much in the way of draft picks, when Morris is only going to be out 4 games. If you think replacing Morris with Chris Brown (as opposed to Minor) is going to make any kind of difference in our W/L for the first 4 games, I'd say you're kind of nuts.

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Here's what I don't understand:

 

What the hell do we need a 3rd down back for? No RB on this team can catch, block, or run better than Ronnie Brown. Why would you want someone else in there on 3rd down?

 

I'm not saying Ronnie should be out there every play this season, but if he has to carry a slightly heavier load the first 4 weeks, I think he can handle it. Meanwhile, Minor will make for a nice change of pace.

 

I'm not against a trade, but at the same time I don't want to give up much in the way of draft picks, when Morris is only going to be out 4 games. If you think replacing Morris with Chris Brown (as opposed to Minor) is going to make any kind of difference in our W/L for the first 4 games, I'd say you're kind of nuts.

 

I agree with you but the reasons for it normally is to keep him fresh. Ronnie is a second half runner and does better as he goes.

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