The NFL is reportedly set to ramp up its investigation of the allegations levied against several players in the recent Al-Jazeera America PED report.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the league said in an internal memo that it is set to interview four players – Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, Steelers linebacker James Harrison, and free agent linebacker Mike Neal – after they were tied to PED use in the Al-Jazeera America documentary.
The interviews for the currently signed players are set to be conducted on the first day of their team’s training camp. Neal’s interview will take place on or before July 22.
There is no mention of now-retired Peyton Manning in the memo, but a source told Pelissero that his investigation is progressing as well.
Last December, these players along with several others across sports were accused of PED use as part of al Al-Jazeera America investigation. Charlie Sly, a primary informant for the story, has recanted his allegations, but that has not stopped the NFL from proceeding with its own investigation.
With all the time that has passed, it’s easy to forget that when Peyton Manning left the Colts back in 2012, the Denver Broncos were far from his only choice if he wanted to continue his career.
The Tennessee Titans were after Manning as well, and on Thursday night he admitted that he’d strongly considered playing professionally in the state where he went to college.
“I was pretty close,” Manning said of playing for the Titans, via The Tennessean.
Manning also said he wasn’t going to be coaching at his alma mater, but he was very excited for Vols football.
— Austin Stanley (@AustinStanley81) May 27, 2016
“I’m a huge Butch Jones fan,” Manning added. “I’m excited about the Tennessee Vols and how we’re gonna do this year.”
Manning could have had a free Nissan if he’d joined the Titans. Alas, he had to settle instead for winning a Super Bowl. We’re guessing he’s alright with that. But hey, perhaps if he decides to start a front office career, he could end up with Tennessee after all.
Peyton Manning was accused of using human growth hormone in a bombshell report roughly five months ago, and we have heard very little about the allegations since his retirement. Manning was initially so furious that he openly threatened a lawsuit, but it appears he has changed his mind.
Christine Brennan of USA Today Sports reported this week that Manning is not going to sue Al Jazeera, which aired the report featuring a former anti-aging clinic intern accusing Manning of using HGH. After speaking with attorneys, Manning has decided he does not want to spend the time and money needed for a lawsuit, nor does he want his and his wife’s private health records being made public.
Charlie Sly, a former intern at the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis, claimed Manning’s wife Ashley received shipments of HGH that were intended for Peyton when he was recovering from neck surgery.
Brennan also notes that Manning is waiting to see how the lawsuits filed by MLB players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard, who were also named in the Al Jazeera report, turn out. If those cases are dismissed, Manning will know he made the right call.
Manning was so angry after the Al Jazeera report surfaced that he almost looked like he was on the verge of tears. You can see one of his first interviews from after the allegations were made here. But even if he is innocent and is still furious, the buzz surrounding the report has all but disappeared. Calling more attention to it by filing a lawsuit that could end up getting dismissed would be counterproductive at this point.
It turns out that the departure of Brock Osweiler caught John Elway off guard, too.
The Broncos’ VP and general manager told Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole that Denver anticipated retaining Osweiler even if Peyton Manning retired.
“Was it a big surprise that we were in that situation? Yeah,” Elway said of losing Manning and Osweiler in the same offseason. “Because I thought…we drafted Brock when we got Peyton because we didn’t know exactly what Peyton was going to be. But also, if [Manning] wasn’t in good shape, we were going to a guy who was going to be here for a long, long time. Now, that didn’t work out, so it was a matter of, you have to fix the issue.”
Elway outlined the team’s response to the challenge, reaffirming his faith in Mark Sanchez in the process.
“Well, the first thing we did is we got Mark and I feel good about Mark,” Elway said. “So by getting Mark—and we’re a lot higher on him than a lot of people are—so once we landed Mark and he was here, we felt better about the situation. It was a matter of bringing somebody in for competition. But of the guys who were out there at the time, there were no difference-makers. So why would I overpay for a guy who wasn’t going to be a difference-maker?”
That last sentence seems to be why Colin Kaepernick never became a Bronco. The team clearly liked him, but not at the price it would have taken. Instead they grabbed the ever-confident Sanchez as well as Paxton Lynch, who they are quite high on for the future.
Peyton Manning retired back in March, but that hasn’t stopped people from bombarding his father Archie with questions about whether he’ll make a comeback.
Archie Manning spoke to Jenny Vrentas of the MMQB, and he admitted that he gets asked frequently at Q&A sessions if Peyton will be returning to the NFL.
“Yeah, I do get asked if he will come back,” Archie said. “But he won’t. He won’t. He’s done. He’s 40 years old, and I think he kind of knows the NFL is probably not the place for 40 year olds.”
This is no big surprise. Peyton seems to know he’s done, and he hasn’t really shown any indication of having, say, Brett Favre’s indecisive streak.
As for what Peyton will do with his free time, Archie did say that Peyton has had television opportunities, but he wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a year off from football entirely and does some other things.
“He kind of, I think, wants to not be obligated during the fall and do some things he was not able to do when he was playing football,” Archie said. “And then after this first year, kind of look at it again and go from there.”
That goes along with what we heard earlier: Peyton doesn’t want to be a TV analyst, at least not this year. It sounds like his ultimate goal is to run a front office, though he did find the time to help out another quarterback during his retirement.
Ryan Tannehill is coming off a fairly disappointing season in which many expected him to break out, but he is hoping Peyton Manning can help him take the next step in 2016.
Tannehill recently told Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald that Manning visited the Miami Dolphins headquarters this spring to meet with Adam Gase, who was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator during three of Manning’s four seasons with the Denver Broncos. During the visit, Manning also spent some time with Tannehill.
“It was really cool,” Tannehill said. “A guy that had his career, the living legend he is, coming off a Super Bowl winning season — it was really cool just to be able to sit and pick his brain about things he’s done in this offense and football things in general: snap counts, things you like, the way you want guys to run routes, little details about the game. We really just got to talk the game, which is something we both love.”
The meeting came before Tannehill and other Dolphins players were permitted to meet with their new coaching staff, so the 27-year-old felt like Manning helped him get a head start in his new offense.
“At that time, we weren’t able to meet with the coaches or anything, so I didn’t really have a great handle yet,” Tannehill explained. “So I wasn’t really able to dive into the playbook too much. So I had a few questions [for Manning]. If he comes back now, we can have a completely different conversation.”
Tannehill said it was nice to see how much “mutual respect” there is between Gase and Manning. The former Texas A&M star is hoping to replicate that, but reaching a Super Bowl will be a tall task.
We don’t know what to expect from Tannehill this upcoming season, but we know he must be glad to have one former teammate’s wife out of the picture. If Manning works with him again in the future, that can only help.
Peyton Manning may have retired, but it wasn’t because nobody wanted him on board, at least according to his agent.
Tom Condon spoke to “The Business of Sports with Andrew Brandt” podcast, and revealed that Manning had interest from other NFL teams before ultimately electing to retire, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.
Condon didn’t divulge which teams, or even how many, had registered their interest, saying only that Denver was not one of the interested parties. He did note, though, that Manning had a lot of love and respect for the game and didn’t want to be a player who would “hopscotch” from team to team. Basically, it sounds like Manning wanted an offer he couldn’t refuse, and it never came.
Based on previous reporting, the Los Angeles Rams seem a good bet to have been one of the teams. While he apparently won’t be serving as a TV analyst in 2016, Manning doesn’t sound like a guy who wants to stay away from the game. Perhaps a front office role is in his future.