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Lions complaining about Rogers's suspension


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Lions say drug policy that led to Rogers' suspension is confusing

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Detroit Lions understand they will be missing star defensive tackle Shaun Rogers for the next month.


They just aren't clear why.

The NFL suspended Rogers without pay for the next four games for violating a league rule on banned substances. The league said Wednesday the violation involved an NFL policy that covers anabolic steroids and related substances.

Rogers will be eligible to return for the Thanksgiving Day game against Miami.

Several Lions players said the two-time Pro Bowler fell afoul of a confusing policy that leaves them not knowing which supplements are OK and which are banned. Unlike the league's policy on street drugs, a first offense related to performance-enhancing substances brings a suspension.

``They give us a list, but it is in Greek,'' said veteran tight end Marcus Pollard. ``It would be helpful if the list said which supplements were banned, but it doesn't. It just gives us a list of ingredients, and we have to try to figure out which ones are in each supplement.''

The NFL's announcement didn't say what Rogers took, but an official within the league told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that it was an over-the-counter substance. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NFL had not yet announced the suspension.

Lions player representative Dominic Raiola said the confusion means the players have to exercise caution.

``You have to be careful, because you can flunk for NyQuil,'' he said. ``Before I take anything, I go right to the trainers and ask them about it. If there's any question at all, I don't take it.''

Lions coach Rod Marinelli said players are warned during training camp about what they should not be taking.

``This shouldn't be a surprise,'' he said. ``Our trainers do a nice job of keeping track of what is good and what isn't.''

Tight end Dan Campbell is a supplement user - he keeps large jars of powder in his locker - but said he understands the risks.

``This stuff helps me recover faster, which is why I take it,'' he said. ``I'm very careful about checking the labels, but what would happen if they put something else in it? If that happened, I'd go public and make sure everyone knew what the company was doing, but that's still four games off for me.''

Pollard isn't willing to take that chance.

``I'm a water-and-Gatorade guy,'' he said. ``The only thing I take is my kids' Flintstones vitamins, and I'm pretty sure those are safe.''

Losing Rogers is a blow for the Lions, who are coming off their first win of the season. Detroit (1-5) plays Sunday on the road against the New York Jets (3-3).

The 6-foot-4, 345-pound Rogers is widely regarded as one of the NFL's best defensive tackles. He had a career-high 5 1/2 sacks last year. In six games this season, Rogers had three sacks and 20 tackles.

Marcus Bell will replace Rogers in the starting lineup Sunday against the Jets, but he isn't expected to have the same kind of game-changing impact.

``It's an impact on us, but I am very confident with Marcus,'' Marinelli said. ``He has to have a great game. They will maybe run inside on us a little more, but if every guy does what he is supposed to do, we'll be fine.''

An e-mail message seeking comment was sent to Rogers on Tuesday night.

Cory Redding, Rogers' partner at defensive tackle going back to their college days at Texas, said he talked to Rogers after the news broke Tuesday.

``This is a devastating blow for us,'' he said. ``We're all going to miss the big guy, but he's with his friends and family. That's what he needs right now.''

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