The NFL said on Monday it found no credible evidence that Peyton Manning was provided with human growth hormone or other prohibited substances as alleged in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America last year.
The league said the quarterback and his wife, Ashley Manning, cooperated fully during the seven-month investigation, providing interviews and access to all records sought by investigators.
The league is continuing its investigation into allegations made against other players in the documentary, which the league said involves ‘‘different lines of inquiry and witnesses.’’
Those other players — all of them linebackers — provided the league with sworn affidavits, but the NFL wants to interview them in person.
In December, Al-Jazeera reported that an intern at an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic was secretly recorded suggesting that Manning’s wife received deliveries of HGH in 2011 while the quarterback was recovering from neck fusion surgery. The intern, Charles Sly, recanted his statements, which were recorded without his knowledge. He said they were fabricated in an attempt to impress a potential business partner.
Manning angrily denounced the report, calling it ‘‘completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage,’’ and insisting he never took shortcuts in his return to football after missing 2011 with neck problems.
The Al-Jazeera report said four other prominent NFL players also obtained PEDs: Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers of the Green Bay Packers, James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and free agent Mike Neal.
Major league baseball players Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals were also named in the report.
New concussion protocol in place
The NFL and the players association have announced a new policy regarding game-day concussion protocol and discipline for clubs that violate the procedure.
Under the new policy, the NFL and NFLPA ‘‘will follow a strict and fair process to investigate incidents and determine appropriate discipline, including club fines and possible forfeiture of draft picks.’’
The league and the players union will each designate a representative to monitor the implementation of the protocol and investigate potential violations. The probe won’t reach medical conclusions; it will only determine if the protocol was followed.
An arbitrator will handle cases where the league and union disagree and report to commissioner Roger Goodell, who retains sole discretion in determining penalties for violations.
A first breach will require club employees or medical team members involved to attend remedial education and/or result in a maximum $150,000 fine against the team. Clubs will be fined a minimum $100,000 for subsequent violations.
There are additional penalties if the violation involves aggravating circumstances, and the commissioner may impose more severe financial penalties and require clubs to forfeit draft picks if it’s determined that a club’s medical team ignored protocol for competitive reasons.
Gordon suspension cut to four games
Suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been granted conditional reinstatement. Gordon, who was eligible to apply for reinstatement Aug. 1, was indefinitely suspended in February 2015 after multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. After the league confirms that Gordon’s ‘‘clinical resources’’ are in place in Cleveland, he will be allowed to take part in all preseason activities, including games. Gordon then will be suspended for the first four regular-season games. If all goes according to plan, Gordon’s first game back will be Oct. 9, when the Browns will play the Patriots, with quarterback Tom Brady playing in his first game after a four-game, Deflategate suspension . . . Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt has decided to retire after seven seasons, halting his comeback from his left Achilles’ tendon injury because of a recent setback . . . Receiver Greg Jennings announced his retirement, finishing his career with 571 catches for 8,291 yards and 64 touchdowns. Jennings caught two touchdowns from quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the Packers’ 31-25 win over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
The Houston Texans have put star defensive end J.J. Watt on the physically unable to perform list less than a week before training camp begins. The move comes after Watt recently had back surgery. The NFL sacks leader last season with 17 ½ is expected to be ready for the season opener . . . The Washington Redskins have released Kyshoen Jarrett after the second-year safety failed his physical before training camp. Jarrett sustained nerve damage to a shoulder in the regular-season finale against Dallas. Coach Jay Gruden said in May that Jarrett was seeing a specialist in Denver. The San Francisco 49ers have promoted personnel executive Tom Gamble to assistant general manager.