The poor soul unfortunate enough to have been caught in the extreme closeup lens of a Getty Images photographer last week, seen here, is New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, who yesterday was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating its steroid policy.
Thomas says the substance he tested positive for, clenbuterol, is a key part of his asthma medication; he does not deny using it — it is banned — but said he didn't realize it was in his prescription asthma drugs. (You know, all the kids we knew with asthma in school were always about 50 pounds and wearing coke-bottle glasses. Asthma's moving up in the world, we see. Good work, asthma!) The Saints are appealing the suspension, though it's difficult to see where they could go with it; Thomas admits using the drug, and even though his reasons might be absolutely justified, the rule is the rule, and it is banned.
Steroid Nation looks at the drug itself and thinks something weird is going on; if clenbuterol is truly only a cortical steroid — ones usually used in asthma inhalers — it shouldn't transform into an anabolic steroid, which means there's no real reason for it to be banned. But they're still researching the claim over there. Regardless, it doesn't look like a Merriman situation here; just an unfortunate one, no matter what happens.
Thomas would be available for the playoffs, were the Saints to make it. We'd suggest hiding from the guy with the camera extremely close to his face.