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Notes: HGH testing for NFL players set in motion

The NFL Players Association ‘‘tentatively agreed’’ to let the league take 40 blood samples for HGH tests each week during the season, with a positive result drawing a four-game suspension, according to a memo the union sent players.

A copy of the NFLPA’s e-mail, written in a question-and-answer format, was obtained Tuesday by the Associated Press.

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The memo says ‘‘a computer program will randomly select’’ five players apiece from eight teams each week to take the blood tests.

First, though, every player participating in NFL training camps this year will provide a blood sample and information about ‘‘height, weight, age, and race/ethnicity’’ for a ‘‘population study’’ to determine what level of HGH will result in penalties, the union wrote.

The e-mail indicates the union has signed off on various aspects of the HGH program and says owners and players ‘‘will likely finalize soon’’ the in-season weekly testing. But the memo does not make clear what exactly the NFL has agreed to at this point or give specifics about what stands in the way of a final accord. No date has been set for the start of testing.

‘Honey Badger’ gets start

Coach Bruce Arians said rookie Tyrann Mathieu will start at free safety in place of ailing Rashad Johnson when the Cardinals play the Cowboys on Saturday. Mathieu, known as “Honey Badger,” has been a sensation as he looks to make a comeback after being booted from the LSU team for marijuana use and sitting out football altogether last season. In Arizona’s 17-0 victory at Green Bay last week, Mathieu had a 12-yard sack, a pass defended, two special-teams tackles, and a 24-yard punt return . . . Redskins safety Phillip Thomas will miss his rookie season with a left foot injury as the fourth-round pick from Fresno State will have surgery on a torn ligament. Thomas led the FBS with eight interceptions last year, returning after he missed 2011 with a broken left leg and dislocated ankle . . . Running back Jamaal Charles had his right foot examined by two orthopedic surgeons and they confirmed the Chiefs’ diagnosis of a mild strain.

White House to host ’72 Dolphins

The Dolphins team that achieved the only perfect season in NFL history will be honored by the White House next Tuesday, more than 40 years after its accomplishment. Barack Obama will welcome the 1972 Dolphins for the first White House ceremony honoring the only team to go 17-0. The ’72 Dolphins didn’t make it to the White House after their Super Bowl victory because Richard Nixon — a big sports fan — was immersed in the Watergate scandal.

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