Perry Confirms Positive Test; Appeal Coming

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On his first day of training camp, offensive lineman Gerald Perry confirmed what by now is almost the obvious: He has failed a National Football League steroids test.

"That is true," Perry said Monday afternoon. "But I have people working on it. I totally disagree with the test, but nevertheless, you have to go through the channels. Hopefully, it will work out in my favor like it should."

Perry plans an appeal, not to contest that he took steroids, but to contest the notion that he took them to gain a competitive advantage.

"He has a knee problem," coach Dick Vermeil said. "And from what I understand, he was on something to help swelling within the knee - and it showed up in a drug test."

(Perry has had chronic injury problems with his left knee.)

"It's my understanding that when a doctor gives you something for your knee, it's legal," Vermeil said. "There are a lot of things that we all take, that if tested for, would not pass a drug test. There are medicines and forms of medicines. So we have to get a whole legal interpretation of the thing."

Vermeil was under the impression that Perry had a hearing planned for Aug. 12 to appeal the drug-test findings. But Perry said Monday he is unaware that any date has been set by the NFL. "They haven't contacted me," Perry said.

If Perry's appeal is unsuccessful, he will be suspended for four-regular season games. Even so, Vermeil says he probably would keep Perry on the squad.

"First off, I'm not going to assume he's going to miss four games," Vermeil said. "But I would lean toward playing without him for four weeks, wait to get him (back), and then say everything's behind him."

Given the fact that Perry walked away from the Rams after one week of training camp in 1996, and failed to show up this year as scheduled on July 17, can Vermeil count on him for an entire season?

"You take chances," Vermeil said. "We all take chances every day. If I didn't like the guy, I wouldn't take the chance. …