Latest On NFL’s Investigation Into PEDs

Nearly five months have passed since an Al Jazeera America documentary linking several NFL players to banned substances came to the fore, but the league still hasn’t interviewed any of the individuals mentioned in the film. That could be on the brink of changing, reports Christine Brennan of USA Today.

“It’s our expectation that we will interview the players involved over the next month or so,” league spokesman Joe Lockhart told Brennan on Wednesday.

Lockhart added that the league is “in conversations with the union over the timing” of the interviews.

“The Dark Side,” a documentary centering on the global epidemic of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, was released in December. In that production, ex-Guyer Institute pharmacists Charlie Sly and Chad Robertson name now-retired quarterback Peyton Manning, Packers linebacker Julius Peppers, Steelers linebacker James Harrison and current free agent linebacker Mike Neal as players they supplied with PEDs. They also connect Packers linebacker Clay Matthews to the painkiller Toradol.

Sly alleges in the documentary that the Guyer Institute – an Indianapolis-based anti-aging clinic – supplied Manning and his wife, Ashley, with human growth hormone when he was recovering from a career-threatening neck injury in 2011. Neal, Peppers and Harrison are all linked to hormone supplement Delta-2, which is designed to stay ahead of drug tests.

Manning, whose Broncos defeated the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, stated after the documentary’s release that he would "<strongwelcome a league investigation into the matter and added that he’d consider legal action. As it turns out, however, the 40-year-old will not sue, relays Brennan. He remains on the league’s interview list, though, because of the potential that he’ll someday end up in a front office.

As of now, Manning doesn’t want to spend significant money or time on a lawsuit that would publicize the private medical records of him and his wife, per Brennan, who notes that Sly’s allegation that Manning went to the Guyer Institute ultimately proved true. Further, the Mannings haven’t disputed the notion that Ashley Manning had HGH and other drugs shipped to her.

For now, Manning is in a strategic phase and keeping an eye on how the libel lawsuits filed against Al Jazeera America by Major League Baseball players Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman fare. Howard and Zimmerman are also included in the documentary, and they elected to take legal action in January. If their cases end up dismissed, Manning will know his also would have been, writes Brennan.

As for the other players involved, Neal is still unsigned despite logging a few productive seasons in Green Bay. He attributes his unemployment, at least in part, to the documentary. Harrison decided against legal action in December for financial reasons, and he made news earlier this month when he tried to videotape his own drug test. Peppers – who does have a 2002 PED suspension on his résumé – called the documentary “irresponsible journalism” upon its release, and Matthews denied knowing Sly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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5 comments on “Latest On NFL’s Investigation Into PEDs

  1. JD396

    I want so bad for this to be definitively proven to be not true, but when does that ever ultimately happen? I fear it’ll just kind of be this unsubstantiated cloud following these guys around forever, and we’ll all just have to wonder.

  2. rickcwik

    I am utterly amazed at the lack of sports journalist reporting anything on this. Its almost as if Peyton Manning is so beloved by the sports media that they don’t want to out him, IF IN FACT HE USED ENHANCERS of some nature.

  3. Nobby

    Take any PED you want but if that football is one pound below weight, you’re a cheater. Protect the shield.

  4. K Zongo

    Manning’s unwillingness to file a libel suit over this says everything you need to know about the case: Guilty as charged

  5. whereslou

    So my wife takes steroids because of a couple auto immune diseases she has. When they get shipped to our house does that mean I take them if I was a pro athlete? People who act like this is beyond reason amaze me. She could have taken them for a reason that is none of our business or he could have had them sent on her name to cover up him taking then I am not sure what I do know is he is innocent until proven guilty. Just because he doesn’t want to spend millions on a 50/50 lawsuit means he is smart not guilty. I will wait until there is an investigation and real proof over a network that shows Americans getting their heads chopped off and gives terrorists air time and has gone out of business in the US. It really doesn’t seem like any of the pro sport leagues are in a hurry to investigate.

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