The NFL believes Peyton Manning did not use performance-enhancing drugs.
The league released a vague statement on the matter but withheld any lengthy findings from an investigation, a la Ted Wells’ reports on Richie Incognito and Tom Brady. The statement reads:
Following a comprehensive seven-month investigation into allegations made in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America, 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, it was announced today.
The Mannings were fully cooperative with the investigation and provided both interviews and access to all records sought by the investigators.
Initiated in January, the investigation was led by the NFL’s security and legal teams with support from 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.
Separately, the NFL’s investigation continues into the documentary’s allegations made against other NFL players, which involve different lines of inquiry and witnesses.
Manning called the allegations “a freaking joke” and “utterly ridiculous” late last year but affirmed that he received treatment from the Guyer Institute.
An Al Jazeera documentary, The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping, spoke of “extraordinary claims that raise questions whether an American sporting hero, Peyton Manning, is linked to performance-enhancing drugs.” A former intern of the Guyer Institute appeared to boast of supplying the football star with human-growth hormone to recover from a terrible neck injury. But before the documentary aired prior to the new year he recanted the claims. Like some of the claims made on candid camera, the recantation came under criticism. Charlie Sly, for instance, denied even working at the Guyer Institute during the time in question but Indiana state records and a call made to the anti-aging clinic by Al Jazeera America suggest otherwise.
The NFL statement neither indicates that the league questioned Sly nor says whether its investigators combed through records at the Guyer Institute. Perhaps learning a lesson from its Deflategate affair, the league kept this investigation of one of the most prominent of its players relatively quiet and without the adversarial relationship that characterized the NFL’s dealings with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Manning retired after winning a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in his last game as a pro. Al Jazeera America announced its retirement under less ideal conditions. Following lawsuits filed by two Major League Baseball players named in the documentary, the troubled cable network folded up shop in April.