After a seven-month investigation, the NFL announced there is "no credible evidence" that retired quarterback Peyton Manning used any type of performance-enhancing substances.
In its official statement on the matter, the league said that both Mannings — Peyton and his wife, Ashley — cooperated fully with the investigation. While they did receive deliveries from an Indiana anti-aging clinic at their home, the Mannings maintained from the beginning that they were sent to, and used by, Ashley Manning. The league said the Mannings "provided interviews and access to all records sought by investigators."
According to the NFL, the investigation was thorough.
"Initiated in January, the investigation was led by the NFL's security and legal teams with support from expert consultants and other professionals," the league's official statement clearing Manning read. "The investigation involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, online research, and laboratory analysis and review."
The allegations, which stemmed from an Al-Jazeera America report, named Manning, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, James Harrison and Mike Neal as having received banned performance-enhancing substances, specifically human growth hormone, from the clinic.
The report featured a pharmacist named Charlie Sly who was employed by the anti-aging clinic for a portion of 2011, the year Manning was recovering from surgery to repair damage from a neck injury. Sly later recanted the allegations contained in the documentary in a YouTube video.
The league is continuing its investigation into Matthews, Peppers, Harrison and Neal. Matthews, Peppers and Harrison were scheduled to be interviewed this week, on the dates they report to their respective training camps. Neal, who remains a free agent, was to be interviewed by the league on or before July 22.
Matthews, Peppers and Harrison all submitted affidavits to the league affirming that they did not use PEDs, but the league rejected their sworn statements and will proceed with the matter. Harrison has repeatedly made it clear that he is not happy with the investigation. The NFLPA has also been vocally displeased with the league's continued investigation because of concerns that it creates a slippery slope for determining what can be labeled credible evidence of player use of banned substances.
On Monday, the NFLPA released a brief statement on Manning's name being cleared.
"As a former player, Peyton Manning is free to do whatever he believes is in his best interest," the statement read. "The Union knows that he understands the rights of players under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and would never do anything to hurt or undermine active players in support of those rights."
Peyton Manning’s cooperation with the investigation was expected in the event that he decides to pursue a post-football career in broadcasting or in an NFL front office. Now that he has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the league, he’s free to pursue any opportunities he’d like in his retirement.