LOS ANGELES: Peyton Manning said Thursday he welcomed a National Football League investigation into allegations linking him to human growth hormone, describing the report that triggered the probe as “garbage.”
The veteran Denver Broncos quarterback, who is preparing for next month’s Super Bowl, said he had no problem with the NFL probing claims made in an Al Jazeera America report.
“I do welcome it. It’s no news to me,” Manning told reporters after practice.
“I still stand by what I said then, that it’s garbage from the first day that it came out, garbage today.”
Al Jazeera’s report cited a former employee of a clinic in Indianapolis who alleged that HGH had been shipped to Manning’s wife Ashley.
The employee later recanted his allegations, claiming his calls and conversations had been recorded without his consent.
The NFL has said it is carrying out an “ongoing and comprehensive” investigation into the Al Jazeera claims.
Meanwhile, Manning laughed off speculation about his future after he was caught on film telling New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick after Sunday’s 20-18 win in Denver that it “might be my last rodeo.”
The remark added weight to the view that Manning, 39, may bring the curtain down on his career after the Broncos face the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara on February 7 in Super Bowl 50.
Asked to comment on his reported exchange with Belichick, Manning replied: “What happened to private conversations on the 50-yard-line, they just don’t exist anymore?”
“No confirmation on that, whatsoever. We are on to Carolina.”
Manning will become the oldest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history next month.
His future has been the subject of intense speculation after a difficult season which saw him battling injury and struggling to produce his best form.
He lost his position as Broncos starting quarterback but returned during the postseason to guide Denver into their second Super Bowl appearance in two years after their defeat in 2014 to Seattle.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was also staying tight-lipped on Manning’s future.
“He hasn’t said anything to me,” Kubiak said. “I know he’s enjoying the playoffs and enjoying this opportunity with this football team. I can’t speak for him. … I know it’s special to have him back in the huddle leading the way.”