By DAVE GOLDBERG
AP Football Writer
NEW YORK -- Six to eight players are under investigation by the NFL for violating the league's drug policy by taking a weight-loss diuretic that is considered a masking agent for steroids.
A person familiar with the case provided the number of players involved Monday, saying estimates of a higher figure were untrue. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the players are appealing the findings.
The Denver TV station Fox 31 reported last week that six to 10 players had tested positive for Bumetanide, a pill that decreases the amount of water retained in the body by increasing urination. It causes the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine. Other reports put the number of cases as high as 18.
New Orleans running back Deuce McAllister confirmed Sunday after the Saints 37-32 win over San Diego in London that he is one of the players being investigated although he stopped short of saying he had tested positive.
"We've been kind of going through this process for a while," McAllister said. "I guess you guys just found out about it at this point. But whatever happens, that's what's going to happen. We've hired counsel. He's going to do his job to kind of put the case together and however the NFL rules, that's the way it will be."
David Cornwell, a former lawyer for the league who has represented players in a number of these matters, confirmed last week to the AP that he is representing some players. He declined to identify any of them except Bryan Pittman, a long snapper for the Houston Texans.
"Bryan did everything humanly possible to comply with the NFL steroid policy, including obtaining doctors' written authorization to take weight loss medication. He did not use steroids," Cornwell said Monday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
"Thus far, the only violation of the NFL steroid policy is the breach of Bryan's absolute right to confidentiality while his appeal proceeds. Whoever is leaking this story is attempting to put their thumb on the scale (of) justice to harm Bryan."
Defensive end Will Smith of the Saints and defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Vikings also have been identified in various reports -- citing unidentified sources -- as one of the players. None of those reports has been confirmed.
Under the NFL's steroid policy, a player testing positive for the first time can be suspended for four games.