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NFL: Rogers' drug test diluted

League physicians find masking agent in receiver's urine

April 15, 2003

Former MSU star Charles Rogers found himself under the microscope of NFL executives Monday after it was revealed he used a substance to dilute his drug test at the NFL combine in February.

The news left Rogers' agent, Kevin Poston, on the defensive, claiming the consensus top-three pick in the April 26-27 NFL draft drank an excessive amount of water because he had difficulty urinating on the day of the test.

During the pre-draft combine, potential draft picks often participate in drills for NFL scouts and submit to drug testing. NFL doctor Lawrence Brown notified Rogers last month that he tested positive for using a masking agent to dilute the results of his test.

Masking agents are often used to hide the presence of illegal drugs, MSU doctors say. The results of the test could subject Rogers to the NFL's drug evaluation program once he signs a contract with an NFL team.

"I'm very comfortable with this," Poston said. "If they want to evaluate him, that's fine, because Charles doesn't use anything."

The evaluation process could include random drug testing and mandatory enrollment in the NFL's substance abuse program, said ESPN NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, who broke the story Sunday evening.

"One GM said this is ridiculous. And I'm almost sure it won't hurt his draft status," Mortensen said. "It shouldn't hurt him unless something comes up between now and the draft."

Because Rogers didn't consume a banned substance and has no documented drug problems, Mortensen said he'll remain a top-three draft pick.

Mortensen's sources are offering conflicting viewpoints on how the drug test results could impact his status on draft day. One team with a top-five pick said they would dig deeper before possibly selecting Rogers, he said.

One of Rogers' potential employers shied away from taking a stand on the status of the wide receiver.

The Detroit Lions - which many analysts expect to pick Rogers with the second selection - briefly discussed the revelation during a news conference Monday.

"All of that is between Charles, the NFL and his agent, and that's it," Lions President Matt Millen said. "It's a confidential thing, and I can't and won't get into anything publicly about it."

It was the same day Rogers visited the team's facilities.

Last season, Rogers caught an MSU record 68 passes for 1,351 yards and 13 touchdowns.

His receiving yards and touchdown catches represent the second-best single-season totals in Spartan history and are only surpassed by his 1,470 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2001.

The Saginaw native broke both the NCAA and Big Ten records by snagging a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive regular-season games and 14 games overall.

If Rogers' NFL stock falls because of the controversy, he wouldn't be the first athlete to experience similar troubles in the draft.

During the 1998 draft, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss fell from a projected top-five pick to the 21st selection. Charges of domestic battery and rumors of marijuana use hurt Moss' status.

Controversy caused Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp to slide the No. 13 selection in the 1995 draft. Analysts predicted he'd be selected in the top-three before drug abuse rumors caused him to fall.

Don Durrett, Rogers' football head coach at Saginaw High, said Rogers is a "people-person."

"I'm shocked by all of this," he said. "I've never known Charles to be in any kind of trouble for this type of thing. He's just an all-around good guy.

"The timing is just ugly right now with the draft coming up. That's what upsets me most."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kristofer Karol can be reached at karolkri@msu.edu. Jason Carmel Davis can be reached at davisj44@msu.edu.

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