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League continues to push for testing players for HGH

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The NFL is continuing to push for the blood testing of its players for the banned human growth hormone (HGH), the league said on Thursday.

"As the commissioner has said, any performance-enhancing drug threatens the integrity of our game and also is a player health issue," the league said in a statement to Reuters.

"As reported in January, we proposed to the union (the NFL Players Association) blood testing for HGH."

Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters at the Washington Redskins training camp on Wednesday the league did not know how common the use of HGH was.

"You really don't know because we don't have a testing program, and that's one of the reasons we proposed... blood testing because that's the only reliable test that you have right now," he told the Washington Post.

HGH is used by athletes to boost performances.

The NFL would need the approval of the Players Association to implement blood testing, and such a test is expected to be part of discussions on a new labor deal.

The Players Association in the past has questioned the reliability of blood tests.

Major League Baseball said last month it would begin random blood testing for HGH in the minor leagues. Players in the Major Leagues are not tested.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina. editing by Justin Palmer)