How clean is CFL?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Kevin Lefsrud believes there is recreational drug use across the Canadian Football League.

"There are guys on every team (doing it)," said the recently retired Edmonton Eskimos offensive lineman, who strongly believes alcohol should be at the top of the recreational drug category.

Eskimos president Rick LeLacheur also believes drugs are being taken in the league.

"I'm sure there is some use," he said when he touched down at the Montreal airport last night, before adding, "and every company has a concern."

NO TESTING IN PLACE

Of course, there is no way of firmly knowing the level of substance use because the CFL doesn't have a drug testing policy, which has given the league a black eye in the media again, as Dick Pound - head of the World Anti-Doping Agency - is firing shots.

"It's just inconceivable that a professional football league in our day and age actually takes the view that there's no problem in the sport, and therefore, doesn't even bother to test to confirm that hypothesis," Pound said earlier this week.

Linebacker A.J. Gass - the club's chief CFLPA representative - doesn't see any evidence of a drug problem.

"When you look around the room you aren't seeing any humongous freaks that are lifting the house (in terms of weights)," he said.

And while many Eskimos adamantly say they are unaware of anybody on the club taking drugs, defensive back Malcolm Frank is taking a direct shot at the league's head office and the players' association.

"I think any league - if you want to be credible - should have a drug test," he remarked yesterday morning.

"But at the same time, it isn't the NFL. I know it costs money."

And that is where the issue becomes sticky for some players.

"To say there wouldn't be guys that are doing stuff (in terms of substances) that would be ignorant," said Eskimos centre Tim Bakker.

"If (Pound) wants to fork up the money to have us all tested I have no problem with it. "But I'd rather have that money going into guys' salaries.

"That is how I stand."

Pound has suggested a testing program could cost the league a total of roughly $1 million, which equates to $125,000 per team.

"Given the fact there are no rules I am sure there are going to be few guys that try to take advantage, but I have never seen it first hand," said respected Eskimos veteran receiver Pat Woodcock.

Gass believes the league is getting closer to having a testing policy.

"It is always one of our hot topics of discussion," he remarked.

"We talk about it every year at our AGM.

"We just haven't found the right balance of what angle we want to take as far as implementing such a program.

"We don't want it to be one of those things where it is about punishment and being public knowledge.

"We want to use it as a treatment model."

FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE

Edmonton Eskimos offensive lineman Raleigh Roundtree has first-hand experience with drug tests, spending several years in the NFL before coming to the Eskimos.

"It is a random test on Mondays and Fridays, six people," he remembered of his days in the National Football League.

"You can get called twice a week, your name just comes up on the computer."

Roundtree hasn't seen any signs of a drug problem in his few months in the CFL, but...

"What I can say is there probably is (a problem) if it isn't being tested for," he said.


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