U.S. drug agents carried out surprise inspections of the medical staffs of some National Football League teams on Sunday in an investigation of alleged prescription drug abuse in the league, the Washington Post reported.
The newspaper, citing a senior law enforcement official, said agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Transportation Security Administration searched bags and questioned team doctors because of a suspicion that teams dispensed drug illegally to keep players on the field.
The medical staffs that were questioned included those of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, the paper said. The DEA was expected to inspect a total of six teams on Sunday.
The 49ers said in a statement that the DEA inspection took place while the team was in New Jersey to play the New York Giants.
"The San Francisco 49ers organization was asked to participate in a random inspection with representatives from the DEA Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. The 49ers medical staff complied and the team departed the stadium as scheduled," it said.
The DEA, the NFL and the Buccaneers did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
The probe was not limited to those clubs, the official was quoted as saying. The official said it focused on league-wide practices, "including possible distribution of drugs without prescriptions or labels, and the dispensing of drugs by trainers rather than physicians," the Post said.
A DEA spokesman told the Post the investigation followed a class-action suit filed in May by more than 1,300 retired NFL players alleging that teams' medical staffs violated the law in giving players narcotics and painkillers to help them play through injuries.