Federal drug enforcement agents showed up unannounced yesterday to check at least three visiting NFL teams' medical staffs as part of an investigation into former players' claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs. There were no arrests, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman says. The San Francisco 49ers' staff was checked at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, after they played the New York Giants. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff was checked at Baltimore-Washington International airport after playing the Redskins. The Seattle Seahawks, who played at Kansas City, confirmed via the team's Twitter account that they were spot-checked as well.
The spot checks did not target specific teams, but they were done to measure whether visiting NFL clubs were generally in compliance with federal law. The lawsuit from former players that sparked the nationwide probe alleges the NFL and its teams, physicians, and trainers acted without regard for players' health, withholding information about injuries while at the same time handing out prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories to mask pain and minimize lost playing time. "This is an unprecedented raid on a professional sports league," says one of the attorneys for the former players. "I trust the evidence reviewed and validated leading up to this action was substantial and compelling." (Read more NFL stories.)