Federal agents do surprise checks on doctors and trainers

US federal agents conducted surprise inspections of National Football League team doctors and trainers on Sunday as part of an ongoing probe into painkiller drug abuse, the US media reported on Sunday.

The inspections included questioning and bag searches of medical staff by the Drug Enforcement Administration in co-operation with the Transportation Security Administration.

DEA officials were expected to question a half dozen teams on Sunday, including the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The Washington Post reported. Some of the searches were conducted at US airports.

The DEA is looking into abuse of prescription drugs in NFL locker rooms in the wake of a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco on May 20 by eight former players, including Chicago Bears stars Richard Dent and Jim McMahon. Investigators want to know how NFL trainers and team physicians obtained and distributed prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin to get players back on the field faster. Some drugs masked the pain, creating long-term health issues with no warning of such risks, they said.

On the field of play Louis Rams limited Peyton Manning to a single touchdown in a shock 22-7 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday while the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers to trigger a reshuffling of the deck in the NFC South. Manning (pictured), who earlier this season set the all-time career record for touchdown passes, completed 34 of 54 pass attempts for 389 yards inside the raucous Edward Jones Dome but could manage only one touchdown strike to Emmanuel Sanders against a hard-hitting St. Louis defense and was intercepted twice.

Rams quarterback Shaun Hill completed 20 passes for 220 yards and one touchdown while Greg Zuerlein handled the rest of the scoring, booting five field goals including 55 and 53 yarders in the fourth quarter.

Denver may have lost more than a game with tight end Julius Thomas, who leads the NFL in touchdown receptions, and Sanders both going down with injuries.

The loss left the Broncos at 7-3 and were joined at the top of the AFC West by the Kansas City Chiefs who rode the home crowd at Arrowhead Stadium to a 24-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Jamaal Charles rushed for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns to spark the Chiefs to their fifth straight win.

The Super Bowl champion Seahawks slipped to 6-4 in the NFC West and look headed for another showdown with their archrivals the San Francisco 49ers who escaped New York with a 16-10 win over the Giants to get to 6-4. Both the 49ers and Seahawks trail the Arizona Cardinals who top the division and played later on Sunday.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a miserable afternoon firing five interceptions, including two picked off by Niners linebacker Chris Borland, as New York’s losing skid reached five games. Colin Kaepernick tossed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and Phil Dawson kicked three field goals for the 49ers.

In a division where no team has a winning record, the Falcons jumped to a share of the top of the NFC South with a 19-17 win over Panthers while the co-leader New Orleans Saints fell 27-10 at home to the Cincinnati Bengals while the Houston Texans kept their post-season hopes alive with a crucial 23-7 away win over the Cleveland Browns.

In other early games the Chicago Bears stopped the Minnesota Vikings 21-13 while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Washington Redskins 27-7.

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