Broncos running back Travis Henry wins appeal, avoids suspension for drug test
DENVER (AP) -- Broncos running back Travis Henry
won his appeal of a one-year suspension over a failed drug test Tuesday. The NFL informed Henry in September he had failed a test for marijuana. He disputed the results and sued the NFL to avoid a suspension. He contended the league violated its substance abuse policy by not allowing an expert of Henry's choosing to be present for the testing.
Henry's lawyer Harvey Steinberg told The Associated Press that he wasn't surprised by the decision.
"I'm thrilled," Steinberg said. "I always thought we should prevail. I knew that if we got a fair shake, based on the evidence, we'd win. Travis knows and he's absolutely thrilled and relieved and very happy."
The Broncos issued a statement that said they were "pleased with this outcome and happy that Travis has been absolved of any wrongdoing with respect to this matter."
Henry appealed his suspension in early November. He earned the full support of Broncos coach Mike Shanahan after he passed a polygraph test and had a hair sample come back negative for marijuana.
League spokesman Greg Aiello said that had no bearing on the decision.
"The defense of hair samples and lie detector tests was irrelevant and unconvincing," Aiello said in a statement. "But our substance abuse program is based on meeting the highest standards and respecting player rights in all phases of its administration."
Aiello said in a release that Henry will remain in the league's substance abuse program. Henry served a four-game drug-related suspension while with the Tennessee Titans
But Steinberg wasn't sure if Henry would remain in the program or cycle out.
"That's going to be interesting," Steinberg said. "I think he was due to be let out."
The Broncos signed Henry to a five-year, $22.5 million free agent contract that included $12 million in guarantees this offseason after the Titans released him in a cost-cutting move.
Henry had missed the last three games with a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. However, he returned to the backfield in a loss to Oakland on Sunday, carrying the ball 15 times for 49 yards and two touchdowns. He also had the ball stripped away on a hit, and had another bound away when he and Jay Cutler
messed up a handoff exchange.