Steroids distributor shares information, documents with NFL

Originally Published: May 21, 2008
By Shaun Assael | ESPN The Magazine

A Texas trainer met with officials from the NFL on Wednesday, sharing documentation about a steroid distribution network that serviced current and former players.

The league requested the meeting after the trainer, David Jacobs, was sentenced to three years of probation on May 1 for a single count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids. Jacobs has been cooperating with federal authorities since his arrest last year. By his own account, Jacobs was a prolific salesman, moving 1,000 bottles of anabolic steroids a month and an equal number of growth hormone kits that he obtained illicitly from China.

Speaking on behalf of Jacobs, Philadelphia attorney Henry Hockeimer Jr. said that league officials seemed "genuinely interested" in what the trainer had to say, as well as in canceled checks and e-mails that he provided.

Jacobs has publicly acknowledged that he dealt primarily with two NFL players, and earlier identified one of them as offensive lineman Matt Lehr. Last month, Jacobs told the Dallas Morning News that Lehr purchased tens of thousands of dollars of steroids and growth hormone from the spring of 2006 to the spring of 2007. He also told the paper that Lehr agreed to have boxes of raw steroid powder from China shipped directly to his Georgia home.

Lehr served a four-game suspension as an Atlanta Falcon in October 2006 after he tested positive for a banned substance. He spent last season with Tampa Bay and was acquired by the Saints in the offseason.

Lehr's attorney, Paul Coggins, has previously insisted that "we have been told by the prosecutors that they do not intend to bring charges" against him.

After his sentencing, Jacobs told The New York Times that he hoped to tell league officials about "loopholes in their program." He also said he'd advised about 10 players to use finasteride, a drug to treat balding, because it masks steroid use.

Hockeimer said another meeting with the league would be held soon. A spokesman for the league, Greg Aiello, had no comment.

Shaun Assael, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, writes extensively about doping in sports in his new book, "Steroid Nation," available here.

• Senior writer for ESPN The Magazine
• Author of "Wide Open: Days and Nights on the NASCAR Tour"; the New York Times best-selling "Sex, Lies and Headlocks"; and "Steroid Nation"