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What We Know: Von Miller

Clarifying what we know thus far in the Von Miller saga, attacking media and a Von Miller defense.


Monday came like a whirlwind and there was information and disinformation all over the place, but I will do my best to give you what we know and where it could all be heading.

The Denver Post's Mike Klis let us know that Von Miller tested positive for marijuana and an amphetamine in 2011.

The NFL players association has stated that Miller's suspension (which they are appealing) "does not involve the Steroids and Related Substances Policy."

What we don't know-- do the multiple positives in 2011 count as one positive test or two? It takes two positive tests to get a player into stage two of the NFL's intervention program. It takes three violations to get a player suspended.

The NFL does not suspend a player for producing a positive non performance enhancing drug test the first two times. The player must enter into a program, the NFL also does not notify the public (though sometimes the participation of the player in the NFL's intervention program is leaked to the public).

The NFL's intervention program under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has three stages, a player producing a positive drug test will enter Stage One, successfully completing Stage One means that the player is done. Stage Two is for players who do not follow through on all of the rules of Stage One, including, but not limited to another positive drug test.

Once in Stage Two a player can be tested up to ten times in a calendar month, for up to 24 months. A player cannot be suspended for four games until they have entered Stage Two of rehabilitation. Once in Stage Two a failed drug test would result in a four game salary tax and suspension of four games.

Stage One cannot exceed 90 days, Stage Two is optional and entrance is at the discretion of the Medical Director. The Medical Director can extend the total time a player is in Stage One up to six months due to "unusual and compelling circumstances".

A player who advances to Stage Two has been set up with a Treatment Plan that was developed in Stage One with a Medical Advisor. Stage Two subjects a player to unannounced testing (up to ten times during any calendar month). A player remains in Stage Two for twenty-four months or two full seasons, whichever is shorter and can be tested at any time. Two positive tests while in Stage Two will result in a four game suspension (which can include the playoffs and the Pro Bowl).

A player who fails Stage Two will be automatically entered into Stage Three. Failure of Stage Two can consist of: two positive tests, or two instances in which he fails to cooperate with testing, treatment, evaluation or other requirements imposed on him by this policy or to comply with his Treatment Plan, or one positive test and one instance of a failure to comply with his Treatment Plan or cooperation with testing, treatment, evaluation or other requirements imposed on him by this Policy while in Stage Two.

A player in Stage Three will remain in Stage Three for the duration of his NFL career. A player who fails a drug test or refuses to cooperate in Stage Three will be banished from the NFL for a calendar year.

So, there we have it. Again, what we are not sure of is if the two positive tests coincided in 2011 or if they were separate incidents. Likely they were separate incidents, as indications are that both violations happened in 2011. If the two incidents were colloidal, then this suspension is due to a positive test or rules violation more recent than two years ago.

We also know that Miller is appealing the four game suspension, we don't know when or even if it will effect the first four games of the season. This is where media has been focused, but this could just as easily effect the final four games of the season. Which could prove to be even more brutal for the team and fans.

Then again this could be just one big misunderstanding, Miller possibly could have just missed one test in two years after entering Stage Two and he's being knocked for it with a four game suspension.

What people like Drew Soicher and a lot of others in the media have wrong is the fact that one must consider all aspects of the rules before accusing Miller of lighting up a blunt and sweating from molly a week before training camp started.

This could have all been the result of something he did at 22 years old and a failure over the last twenty-plus months to show for two urine drops, two counseling sessions or any other number of violations within Stage One and Two.

I said it on Twitter Tuesday night, but I will close with one of my favorite quotes here.

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," Oscar Wilde.

UPDATE 7/24/2013 9:00 AM MTN: