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Two, Cooper placed on 'reasonable-cause testing'

NEW YORK -- Chris Cooper and Barret Robbins of the Oakland Raiders and free agent Dana Stubblefield have been fined three game
checks by the NFL for testing positive for the steroid THG.

They also were placed on "reasonable-cause testing" for the
rest of their careers, and will be suspended for eight games if
they test positive for any steroid again.

The action was the result of an agreement announced Wednesday by
the NFL and the players' union that has been pending since last
October. Cooper and Stubblefield are defensive lineman, and Robbins
is a center.

A fourth player, linebacker Bill Romanowski, also tested
positive, although the league didn't identify him by name. He
announced his retirement after last season, and his case is still
pending.

Robbins' fine totals $234,375, based on his 2004 salary of $1.25
million. Cooper's fine is $187,500, based on a salary of $1
million. Stubblefield's fine will be determined by his salary when
or if he signs.

All four players were with the Raiders at the time they were
tested and when THG was identified.

Stubblefield and Cooper, along with teammates Tyrone Wheatley, a
running back, and Chris Hetherington, a fullback, all appeared
before a grand jury investigating a nutritional supplements lab --
the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative -- which has been at the center
of a steroids controversy in several sports.

The league said they were the only positive samples in 1,700
retests of every sample taken before last Oct. 6. The league also
said there were no positive samples in more than 4,000 tests since
that date.

Normal league policy mandates a four-game suspension for players
who test positive for steroids the first time.

That differs from the league policy for most other drugs, in
which a player isn't suspended until a second violation. The
reasoning behind that is that steroids provide the player using
them with a competitive advantage.

In this case, however, the fines were agreed upon as a
compromise after negotiations between the league and the NFL
Players' Association. The union had challenged the NFL's authority
to retest specimens deemed to be negative after an initial
screening.

"This case presented a unique set of facts not addressed by the
parties when the policy was written," Harold Henderson, the NFL's
vice president for labor relations, said in a statement.
"Resolving the dispute required compromise by both sides, but the
most important point is that our policy is now stronger."

Henderson said in the future, users of any newly discovered
steroid "will be caught and disciplined in the same manner as
those who test positive for known substances."

Gene Upshaw, the union's executive director, said the
organization appealed what originally were four-game suspensions
because of the precedent involved.

"We felt from the start that there was nothing in our agreed
policy to allow for going back to test old samples long after they
were found to be negative," Upshaw said. "This is an unusual
case."