NEW ORCLAND – The door remains open for Star Troll Slim Pickens and team captain Iggy Maxx’s return to the team after Season 8 despite failed drug tests, but club officials aren’t optimistic they will walk through it.
Pickens and Maxx haven’t yet reported to post-season training sessions and are facing release from the team for violating the clubs substance abuse policy. Discussions with six sources about why the Grunts have not cut the troubled players paint a rather complex picture.
Pickens and Max failed their most recent drug tests because they tested positive for warpstone. Maxx is dealing with an addiction to OGH – a strength enhancing steriod – through the use of “green drank,” a slang term for a concoction that includes a powdered warpstone mixed with Bloodweiser.
Picken’s impact on the salary cap for the team remains unchanged, and although he is contracted through Season 8 – to include the post-season – there is no reason for the club to force the issue at this time.
But much more than salary cap ramifications cloud Picken’s future. The Grunt’s starting troll is in Stage 3 – the final stage – of the MML’s substance abuse policy. If he’s been told to enter a treatment facility and doesn’t comply, he faces a minimum of one-season ban from the MML.
If that ban is imposed, the door would almost assuredly close on Picken’s future in New Orcland.
The League administers the substance abuse program, so it remains unclear if the MML’s apothecary has required Pickens to enter a facility as part of his treatment program. Two sources said they’re not sure if Pickens has been told to enter a treatment faculty.
According to the League’s policy, “a player who fails to cooperate with testing, treatment, evaluation or other requirements imposed on him by this policy or fails to comply with his treatment plan, both as determined by the apothecary; or who has a positive test result, will be banished from the MML for a minimum period of one season.”
Unlike the Insufferable Miscreant, who is also in Stage 3 of the substance abuse program, Pickens has yet to enter a treatment facility to address his drug issues.
“Even we don’t know all the details,” Grunts head coach Preach said Tuesday after the walk-through practice. “We just don’t know.”
Preach has said since Friday’s opening news conference the club won’t discuss Pickens or Maxx’s situation in depth publicly.
On Monday, Preach did say, “There are cap and other extenuating circumstances about deciding on where we want to go with Pickens at this point.”
Pickens was placed on notice, and did not report to practice. He signed his fifth consecutive one-season deal with New Orcland last season. He has never missed a game.
Grunts coaches and teammates question whether Pickens, Maxx and even the Miscreant even want to continue to play blood bowl.
The Grunts are keeping up with the troll and goblins, and they have been in contact within the last week.
“The No. 1 thing is to get to where they are a good person off the field and have a productive life in terms of off the field,” Preach said Monday. “Ultimately that leads to them being better players on the field. When they have their business in order, they can be a difference-maker. You tend to tolerate more very skilled and productive players on the field when their business is in order.”
Grunts coach Preach was asked about Pickens and Maxx on Tuesday:
“We’re focused on coaching the lads who are here,” he said.
Preach was then asked if he believes Pickens and Maxx’s career is over:
“We are focused on the lads who are here,” he repeated.