Peyton Manning Cleared of PED Use After NFL Investigation

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2016

Mar 18, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts retired quarterback Peyton Manning in the Colts practice center hallway after completing his press conference at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL announced Monday that it found "no credible evidence that Peyton Manning was provided with or used HGH or others" prohibited by the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Adam Schefter of ESPN also reported Manning was cleared after the seven-month investigation and that both he and his wife, Ashley, "cooperated fully." Schefter said other players are still being investigated for HGH or other PED use after an Al Jazeera America report implicated several NFL players in December 2015.

Huffington Post Sports provided the NFL's full statement:

"As a former player, [Manning] is free to do whatever he believes is in his best interest," the NFLPA said in a statement, via Lindsay Jones of USA Today. "The union knows that he understands the rights of players under the collective bargaining agreement and would never do anything to hurt or undermine active players in support of those rights."

Alongside Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Green Bay Packers pass-rushers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, former tight end Dustin Keller, and free agent Mike Neal were also named in the report.

Jason Cole of Bleacher Report passed along what Manning's cooperation may mean for those players named in the report:

However, the pharmacist who made the claims against Manning, Charlie Sly, almost immediately retracted them. Sly had been caught on hidden camera in the documentary The Dark Side alleging that Manning and his wife had been provided with HGH.

Manning immediately and vehemently denied the claims in an interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters:

I think I rotated between being angry, furious. Disgusted is really how I feel, sickened by it. I'm trying to understand how someone can make something up about somebody, admit that he made it up and yet somehow it gets published in a story. I don't understand that. Maybe you can explain it or somebody else can. It's completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage -- there's more adjectives I'd like to be able to use. It really makes me sick.

Manning, 40, retired this offseason after leading the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl title over the Carolina Panthers. He finished his career as the league's all-time leader in passing yards (71,940) and passing touchdowns (539); he won two titles and five MVP awards, and he made 14 Pro Bowls in his decorated career.

   

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