Manning angrily denies Al Jazeera report he used PEDs
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Peyton Manning said a report by Al Jazeera set to air Sunday that suggests he used performance-enhancing drugs was ''completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage.''
Manning angrily denied allegations to ESPN on Sunday morning he used HGH in 2011 when he missed an entire season while recovering from neck fusion surgery.
He denied ever using PEDs and blasted the report for suggesting he got drugs that were shipped to his wife, Ashley.
''I can't speak for any other athlete. I know what I've done, I know how hard I've worked in my 18 years of playing in the NFL. There are no shortcuts in the NFL. I've done it the long way, I've done it the hard way. And to insinuate anything otherwise is a complete and total joke, it's defamation and it really ticks me off,'' Manning told ESPN.
The Broncos and Colts also issued statements Sunday morning in support of Manning.
''Knowing Peyton Manning and everything he stands for, the Denver Broncos support him 100 percent,'' the team said. ''These are false claims made to Al Jazeera, and we don't believe the report.''
The statement added that ''Peyton is rightfully outraged by the allegations, which he emphatically denied to our organization and which have been publicly renounced by the source who initially provided them.''
The Colts, whom Manning played for from 1998-2011, issued a statement calling the report ''utterly ridiculous.''
''We are thoroughly familiar with Peyton's tireless work habits, his medical history, and, most importantly, his integrity,'' the Colts said.
''Peyton played the game in Indianapolis for 14 years the right way. He never took any shortcuts and it would be absurd to suggest he would have taken prohibited performance enhancing drugs.
''We also note that the 'source' of this allegation has since recanted his story. The entire Indianapolis Colts organization and the Irsay family hope this crude effort to besmirch Peyton's reputation will not be permitted to tarnish the legacy of a great Colt.''
Manning joined the Broncos in 2012 and had a record-setting run, going 47-15 over what he called the second chapter of his career until he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot on Nov. 15. That was the same day he broke Brett Favre's NFL record for most career passing yards.
He's been sidelined ever since and his longtime backup, Brock Osweiler, will make his sixth straight start Monday night when the Broncos (10-2) host the Bengals (11-3).
''Throughout his NFL career, particularly during his four seasons with the Broncos, Peyton has shown nothing but respect for the game,'' the Broncos said. ''Our organization is confident Peyton does things the right way, and we do not find this story to be credible.''
Manning said he sought holistic treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen and nutrient therapy at the Guyer Institute, an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis, in 2011 with knowledge and consent of the Colts training and medical staff following his four neck surgeries.
Charles Sly, a former intern at the Guyer Institute, has recanted the claim that Manning used HGH. Sly was surreptitiously recorded by Liam Collins, a British hurdler that Al Jazeera said went undercover to expose performance-enhancing drug use in sports.
Sly, who also named other high-profile athletes on the secret recordings made by Collins, told Al Jazeera the statements attributed to him ''are absolutely false and incorrect.'' Sly also told ESPN that he fabricated the allegations to test Collins' legitimacy.
Al Jazeera's report claims Manning received HGH from the Indianapolis anti-aging clinic in 2011 while he was still with the Colts. It said the drug, which was later banned by the NFL in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, was delivered to his wife so that the quarterback's name was never attached to the shipments.
Manning told ESPN he's never taken anything that was ever sent to his wife nor has he ever used PEDs.
''Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And what hurts me the most about this is whoever this guy is, this slapstick trying to insinuate that in 2011, when I more or less had a broken neck - four neck surgeries, I don't know, I'm sure there's a difference in there - but I had a broken neck and I busted my butt to get healthy, put in a lot of hard word. I saw a lot of doctors,'' Manning said.
''I went to the Guyer Clinic, they had an hyperbaric chamber that the Colts trainers and doctors thought might be good for me. They went with me and thought it might help. I don't know if it helped. It didn't hurt.
''Time ended up being probably my best medicine along with a lot of hard work. And that stings me whoever this guy is insinuating that I cut corners, I broke NFL rules in order to get healthy. That's as joke. It's a freaking joke,'' Manning added.
The report names other high-profile athletes as having obtained PEDs.
The attorney for Phillies slugger Ryan Howard said his client will fight claims made in the Al Jazeera report that his client received performance-enhancing drugs.
William Burck of the law firm Quinn Emanuel called the claims made against Howard and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals ''outright lies.''
''It's inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman,'' Burck said in a statement.
''The extraordinary reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims. We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients' good names,'' Burck said.
Manning said he was disgusted he had to take time off from his throwing session inside the Broncos' field house to address this story.
''I plan to go throw today a little bit harder. My ball has a little extra heat on it today. I've got some built-up anger as you might understand,'' Manning said.
Manning said he's had a good week of work without the soreness that developed in his injured foot last week and hopes to return to practice next week. As for when he might play again, he said that he'll do whatever coach Gary Kubiak thinks is best.
''If they need me to play and be in there, then I'll be ready,'' Manning said. ''But if they don't feel that's the best for the team, then I'll respect that decision and do what I can to help the team.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton