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NFL BEEFS UP STEROID TESTING

The NFL is tripling the number of offseason steroid tests each player can face, a policy change the league made public on the eve of a hearing today before congressmen who say they are already drafting legislation about drugs in sports.

Leaders of the House Government Reform Committee, which subpoenaed baseball stars and officials to testify 1 1/2 months ago, are working with Sen. John McCain to draw up laws establishing standard steroid policies for all U.S. professional sports.

The league has some new elements of that policy to tell Congress about. Players now will be subject to a maximum of six random drug tests during each offseason, up from two, NFL spokesman Joe Browne said.

The league and union also had recently agreed to add new substances to the list of banned performance enhancers; to put in writing previously agreed-to policies to test for designer steroids; and to lower the testosterone ratio threshold.

In other NFL news:

Johnny Sample, a defensive back who was on the winning side in two of the NFL's landmark games, died Tuesday in Philadelphia. He was 67. Sample had an interception for the New York Jets in their 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in the third Super Bowl in 1969. Earlier, Sample played for the Colts in the 1958 NFL championship game against the New York Giants. The Colts won, 23-17.

In Green Bay, running back Ahman Green was arrested Tuesday after a domestic violence incident. The Brown County sheriff's department said deputies went to his residence after a 911 call ended with a hang-up. No other details were released.

The Patriots signed Steelers cornerback Chad Scott to bolster their secondary, and were also visited at their headquarters by 34-year-old linebacker Chad Brown, whom the Seahawks cut last week for salary cap purposes.

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