NEW YORK: The National Football League cleared Peyton Manning of involvement in doping on Monday, saying there was “no credible evidence” the legendary quarterback had used or been provided with performance enhancing drugs.
An NFL statement said investigators had spent seven months probing allegations aired in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America in December which alleged human growth hormone had been mailed to Manning’s household in 2011.
The claims were made by Charles Sly, a former pharmacist at the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis, where Manning starred for the NFL’s Colts for 14 seasons. Sly later recanted his allegations.
Manning, who retired after helping the Denver Broncos to victory in the Super Bowl in February, had vehemently denounced the claims, describing them as “garbage.”
“Angry, furious — disgusted, is how I really feel,” Manning told ESPN in December when asked about the report. “It’s completely fabricated; complete trash, garbage.”
The NFL on Monday sided with Manning at the conclusion of what it described as a “comprehensive investigation” into the Al-Jazeera claims.
“The NFL found no credible evidence that Peyton Manning was provided with or used HGH or other substances prohibited by the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances,” the NFL said.
“The Mannings were fully cooperative with the investigation and provided both interviews and access to all records sought by the investigators.”
The NFL probe was conducted by the league’s security and legal teams augmented by expert consultants and other professionals.
“The investigation involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, online research, and laboratory analysis and review,” it said.
The league said it was continuing to study other allegations included in the Al-Jazeera film involving other individuals.
“Separately, the NFL’s investigation continues into the documentary’s allegations made against other NFL players, which involve different lines of inquiry and witnesses,” the league said.
The NFL Players Association is objecting to the NFL’s attempts to interview other active players named in the Al-Jazeera report.
Those players include Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and free agent Mike Neal.