The Al-Jazeera report that accused Peyton Manning and several others of using performance enhancing drugs created quite a stir at the time but in recent weeks, has died down. Caught up in the typical red tape of bickering between the NFL and NFLPA.
But there is an update to the story. According to the USA Today’s Tom Pelissero, his company obtained a letter from the league which indicated James Harrison – along with two others named in the report – will be interviewed on the first day of training camp.
Here’s part of the league’s letter, via Pelissero’s article.
“In fairness to all, including the players involved, we must move forward with the interviews. Accordingly, this will advise that the interviews of Messrs. Peppers, Matthews and Harrison will be scheduled for the first day of their respective training camps, and the interview of Mr. Neal (free agent) will take place on or before July 22. The players will be advised of the specific scheduling details by separate correspondence on which the NFLPA will be copied, and of course an NFLPA representative may attend each interview should the player so request.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers report for camp on July 28th with their first practice the next day. Though I assume league officials will be speaking to Harrison, it isn’t clear exactly who those individuals will be.
There is also no information on when the investigation would conclude. Reasonable minds who know how slow the league works can predict it will take months for a conclusion.
His work ethic does not guarantee innocence, though he should be thought of such until there’s contradictory evidence, but we know Harrison puts in an incredible amount of time to take care of his body. As Dave Bryan cited yesterday, it was once reported that he spends up to $600,000 per year on treatment.
Because of his age and Adonis build, he’s been the subject of several “random” drug tests during the offseason. His desire to film one of the procedures caused quite a stir throughout the union and league, as we wrote back in May.
It’s a minor one but certainly a distraction to Harrison, someone who I’m sure has little interest in talking to the league about something he believes has no truth. If the league continues to move at their tectonic plate pace maybe Harrison has already finished out his last season and retired.
The league doesn’t seem to have interest in talking to those no longer in the game. The letter does not name Manning, the headliner in the original report, as one of the players to be interviewed.
UPDATE: The NFLPA has now issued a response.
Statement from NFLPA on the NFL's plan to interview players named in report, says league has provided no evidence. pic.twitter.com/sP4riqmkil
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 24, 2016