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Harrison: More HGH in '04?

Shipment alleged during playoffs

Patriots safety Rodney Harrison first purchased human growth hormone in his initial season with the team, according to two sources involved in the Albany (N.Y.) district attorney's investigation.

Harrison made his first call to a South Florida wellness clinic - which ultimately became a target of the Albany investigation - in the days leading up to the Patriots' 17-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the 2003 playoffs.

The first shipment of HGH was delivered to Harrison about two weeks prior to the team's Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers Feb. 1, 2004. According to one of the sources, Harrison bought more than one shipment, although it is not known what period of time that took place.

The Albany Times-Union first reported the timeline of Harrison's involvement, citing two law enforcement sources.

Harrison, who on Aug. 31 was suspended four games by the NFL, said in a statement that his use "was solely for the purpose of accelerating the healing process of injuries sustained while playing football."

Harrison did not specify when he used the banned substance. It was assumed he was referring to a recent string of injuries, as over the 2005 and '06 seasons he missed 24 of a possible 37 games - first because of torn knee ligaments, then a fractured shoulder blade, then a sprained medial collateral ligament.

In 2002, his final season with the San Diego Chargers, Harrison tore his groin muscle, which ultimately cost him his job. He also had an ankle injury in 2001 that sidelined him for two games.

HGH has been on the NFL's banned substances list since 1991. Players are not tested for HGH, and commissioner Roger Goodell recently said the league is investing to develop a test.

Bob Hohler of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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