Football

NFL notes: HGH testing this season now in doubt

A program for human growth hormone testing in the NFL, which the league touted just last month as a done deal, appears highly unlikely for this season, bogged down in a technical dispute among the league, the players union and the international testing agency advising both groups.

The league accuses the players union of stalling by questioning the test's validity. The union blames the league for what it called "intellectual laziness" for not independently researching the accuracy of the test, which has been used by the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2004. The union is also demanding documents from WADA that it says will allow it to evaluate the growth hormone test independently. WADA says there is no chance it will share those documents.

Eligible for Hall of Fame

Retired coaches Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells and Marty Schottenheimer are among candidates for the 2012 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Cowher is eligible for the first time, as are players Keyshawn Johnson, Tiki Barber, Drew Bledsoe, Stephen Davis, Rod Smith, Will Shields, Troy Vincent and Mike Vanderjagt.

Parcells and Schottenheimer previously were eligible under different requirements. In 2008, the Hall of Fame made it mandatory for coaches, like players, to be retired five consecutive seasons. Before that, coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement.

Vick says he'll play

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said that there is a "100 percent chance" that he will start Sunday despite a deep bone bruise in his right hand.

Coach Andy Reid was slightly less optimistic, but the fact that Vick said he took all the snaps with the first team at practice on Wednesday was a sure sign that he would be at quarterback against the 49ers in three days.

Back with Jets

New York re-signed the speedy linebacker Aaron Maybin Wednesday, hoping the former Buffalo Bills draft bust can boost their pass rush.

Maybin, a first-round pick of the Bills in 2009, was signed by the Jets in August and waived Sept. 4 after he made New York's initial 53-man roster.

Book: Sweetness suicidal

According to a new book, Chicago Bears star Walter Payton abused painkillers in retirement and became suicidal.

In Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, author Jeff Pearlman says the Hall of Fame running back used a cocktail of Tylenol and Vicodin in retirement, kept tanks of nitrous oxide in his garage and even obtained Ritalin from a friend whose son was prescribed pills. Pearlman writes that Payton drew the suspicion of pharmacists and a warning from the police after visiting several drugstores to have a dentist's prescription for morphine filled.

The book goes on sale Oct. 4. An excerpt appears in this week's Sports Illustrated.

Injury updates

Colts: Linebacker Gary Brackett, their defensive signal-caller, and starting safety Melvin Bullitt are out for the rest of the season. Both were placed on injured reserve with shoulder injuries Wednesday.

Giants: Defensive end Osi Umenyiora practiced Wednesday for the first time since the regular season began. Umenyiora had arthroscopic knee surgery in early August.

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