Christine Brennan of USA Today reported Thursday that a source close to Manning stated he held multiple conference calls with lawyers before choosing to avoid legal action. Time, money and the potential for private records to become public were the reasons cited for the decision.
The original report from Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit claimed a shipment of human growth hormone was sent to Manning's home in 2011, addressed to his wife, Ashley.
Will Hobson and Justin Wm. Moyer of the Washington Post noted the pharmacist shown in the piece, Charlie Sly, implied Manning used the substance while recovering from injury. Sly later recanted his claim, and his lawyer stated Sly was trying to improve his status when he made those remarks.
"It was pure puffery," attorney Travis Cohron told the Washington Post. "He was manufacturing a story to bolster his own appearance."
In December, the longtime quarterback told Peter King of The MMQB he was "pissed off" about the story, which he described as a "total fabrication."
When King asked whether he planned to sue, Manning replied: "Yeah, I probably will. I'm that angry."
Baseball players Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals, who were also named in the documentary, did file lawsuits against Al Jazeera in January, calling the report "inaccurate, unsubstantiated and reckless in nature," per ESPN.com.
Manning returned to Denver's lineup a short time after the documentary aired. He had missed six games due to injuries unrelated to the previous claims. Though still hobbled, the future Hall of Famer did enough to help the defensively stout Broncos win the Super Bowl before announcing his retirement.
He's maintained throughout the ordeal that he's wanted to keep his wife's medical history private, which likely played a key role in the decision. However, the USA Today report pointed out he'll be watching the results of the cases involving Howard and Zimmerman closely.