Falcons' Jackson sues supplement maker after positive test

11/16/2008 - NFL Grady Jackson Atlanta Falcons + more

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- With his team in the middle of a playoff race, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson is trying to clear his name and avoid being suspended four games for a positive doping test.

Jackson became at least the second NFL player to file suit against the manufacturer of StarCaps, an over-the-counter weight-loss pill.

The lineman is among six to eight players who reportedly tested positive for the diuretic Bumetanide, which helps rid the body of excess water and salt but is considered a masking agent for steroids by the NFL. The players claim the banned substance was not listed as an ingredient in StarCaps.

Jackson filed suit in Alameda County Superior Court in California. He is seeking restitution for any lost salary and damages for "false advertising and unfair business practices."

In court filings, Jackson acknowledged that he received a four-game suspension from the NFL but is appealing the case. No hearing date has been set.

"It's tough," Jackson said Wednesday. "But you can't worry about it. You just go out there and play every week until the time comes."

New Orleans offensive guard Jamar Nesbit filed suit last month against the makers of StarCaps in federal court in New Jersey. He already served a four-game suspension, but wants to recoup $235,294 in lost salary from the drug company.

At least three other Saints players, running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant, reportedly tested positive but are appealing their cases. Minnesota defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams also have been identified in various reports, and Houston long snapper Bryan Pittman acknowledged meeting with the league to appeal a positive test.

Jackson, who is listed at 345 pounds but appears to be much larger, has battled weight problems through much of his career. Still, he's a key member of the defensive front and it would be a huge blow to the Falcons (6-3) if the suspension was upheld by the league.

Atlanta is one game out of first in the NFC South heading into Sunday's game against Denver, having won four of five.

"I'm just going to keep on playing and taking it a week at a time," Jackson said.

The makers of StarCaps have suspended shipments of the drug and said the company was "taking all necessary steps to ensure that our customers receive product that is safe and effective."