37-year old Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison has long had a reputation for being a gym rat, for spending an incredible amount of money on his body annually, as he considers it a business investment. He is in remarkable playing shape in his 13th NFL season, but a new report would have you believe that the accomplishment is not all of his own.
Mentioned seemingly in a footnote tied to an article linking Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning with performance-enhancing drugs, a Texas-based pharmacist by the name of Charlie Sly dropped Harrison’s name as among the professional athletes that make up his clientele for under the table pharmaceuticals.
An Al Jazeera investigation used a British hurler by the name of Liam Collins to go undercover “in an attempt to expose the widespread nature of performance-enhancing drugs in global sports”. The documentary airs today, but The Huffington Post provided a preview.
Sly worked at the Guyer Institute in 2011 when Manning was recovering from a neck operation. He claims that the clinic provided his wife with growth hormones in his wife’s name so that his would never be attached to it, in an undercover video.
Manning did receive treatments at the Guyer Institute. And Sly did provide Collins with the drugs that he sought. And there are other facets of the story that potentially lend credibility to Sly’s stories, which he evidently used in the context of a sales pitch to Collins.
Which certainly raises the red flag when it comes to the other athletes that he named, among them former Defensive Player of the Year Harrison, who is defying the odds at his age to play at the level he is currently seeing.
Harrison was re-signed this offseason in part in an effort by the coaching staff to provide the Steelers’ young group of linebackers with the knowledge and the drive to work on their bodies and get in the best shape possible during the offseason by watching how he takes care of his body.
Sly claimed that he provided Harrison and others from a variety of professional sports with a drug called Delta-2, which Huffington Post describes as being “designed to stay ahead of drug tests”, which would be evermore alluring in the NFL today as drug testing becomes more strict and thorough on a near-yearly basis.
The context and extent to which Harrison is implicated in this story is unclear, and is only mentioned in passing in the article twice, first as a group of names whom Sly claims to have served, and then as having denied the allegation.
Earlier this year, Harrison responded to an allegation on social media of using performance-enhancing drugs, calling it a compliment to be the recipient of such an accusation. He went on to say that it “validates that all the work I’m putting in is worth it”.
Thank you @sheeha5n. I take that as a compliment. So ppl please stop arguing with him. When I see comments like that, it just validates that all the work I’m putting in is worth it. It also lets me know how feeble-minded, weak-willed and shortsighted individuals like him think….that he could never imagine in his wildest dreams putting in the time, work and dedication it takes to get to this level without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Thanks again @sheeha5n! #BigBalls #NoDeflatedBalls???
At the moment, there is no clear-cut evidence to suggest that Sly’s testimony is credible, especially as it pertains to those that he seemingly mentioned in passing, such as Harrison. It’s quite possible that he used Harrison as part of a sales pitch because he has a reputation of being in phenomenal shape and continues to play well as an ‘old’ man in a young man’s arena.
Update: Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, told WPXI that the allegations against his client are “absolutely ridiculous”.
We just talked to Harrison’s agent about the Huffington Post report: Bill Parise says allegations are “absolutely ridiculous” #Steelers
— The Final Word (@WPXIFinalWord) December 27, 2015