More NFL players are testing positive for amphetamines, a class of substances that includes the ADHD drug Adderall.
Since the start of last season, more than 10 players suspended for failing drug tests have publicly blamed it on taking the stimulant. And while the league doesn’t identify the substance when a player is penalized, senior vice president Adolpho Birch acknowledges that the number of positives for amphetamines has increased.
Because the type of drug isn’t disclosed under the NFL’s agreement with the union, nothing prevents a player from claiming he took Adderall when, in fact, he tested positive for a steroid or another stimulant. The tests don’t differentiate between Adderall and other amphetamines, Birch said, but he does believe Adderall abuse is on the rise in the league.
With many college students using the drug without a prescription to study deep into the night, he said, players come into the NFL accustomed to the idea of popping the pill for a boost.
‘‘It’s not a secret that it’s a societal trend,’’ Birch, who oversees law and labor policy for the league, said Wednesday. ‘‘I think we’re starting to see some of the effects of that trend.’’
Players diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, can apply for a therapeutic use exemption that permits them to take Adderall. An independent administrator reviews their medical history and diagnostic tests to approve or reject the application.
Several players who have tested positive said they had a prescription for Adderall but not an exemption.
Jaguars claim Babin
The Jacksonville Jaguars claimed two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Jaguars (2-9) will pay the remaining $1.69 million of Babin’s 2012 salary, essentially taking a low-risk look at someone who could significantly upgrade one of the league’s worst pass rushes.
Babin has 5½ sacks after recording 18 last year. He signed a five-year, $28 million deal last summer after going to his first Pro Bowl with Tennessee following the 2010 season.
He will play Sunday at Buffalo, Jacksonville coach Mike Mularkey said.
Suh fined $30,000
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined $30,000 for unnecessary roughness because he kicked Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, but the league didn’t suspend him because it couldn’t reach a judgment on his intent.
Suh was on his chest after being taken down by an offensive lineman when he extended his left cleat and hit Schaub below the belt in Detroit’s loss to Houston last Thursday.
For the first time Wednesday, Suh tried to explain what happened.
‘‘It’s a crazy play, it’s one that unfortunately happened,’’ he said. ‘‘I didn’t even realize it until the end of the game, when I see my Twitter feed, I see my friends telling me about it.
“Other than that, I can’t do much more about it. I was being dragged to the ground and my foot inadvertently hit the man.
‘‘But it’s over with and I am moving forward and getting ready to play the Colts.’’
Kaepernick to start
Colin Kaepernick has earned a third straight start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
Coach Jim Harbaugh announced that Kaepernick would go Sunday at St. Louis over Alex Smith after the second-year pro led the NFC West-leading Niners to victories in the past two games, his first two NFL starts.
Harbaugh is still leaving open every possibility, saying it still could be a week-to-week decision as to which quarterback starts.
Vick still out
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy still haven’t been cleared to practice because of concussions and it’s likely they'll miss Sunday’s game against Dallas . . . Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was cleared to practice, three days after sustaining the first concussion of his career. The 29-year-old was limited during the workout but he will start this week . . . The Raiders are releasing linebacker Rolando McClain, ESPN reported. McLain, the eighth overall pick in 2010, has struggled under Oakland’s new coaching staff. He did not practice Wednesday, held out for an undisclosed team-related issue
Allen fined $21k
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen was fined $21,000 for hitting Bears guard Lance Louis, according to a person with knowledge of the punishment who spoke on condition of anonymity because the league had not announced the fine. Allen hit Louis with a block after an interception by Antoine Winfield. Louis didn’t see Allen coming, and his leg stuck in the turf on the hit and tore the ACL in his left knee. Louis is out for the season . . . Lyle Sendlein, the Cardinals’ ironman center, is out for the season with a torn left MCL . . . Denver has submitted an application to bid for the Super Bowl in 2018, 2019, or 2020, the Denver Post reports.