Peyton Manning hasn’t changed his tune on Al Jazeera. The Broncos quarterback reiterated yesterday that the network’s recent report linking him to human growth hormone use is “garbage.”
“Just like I said in December, I do welcome it,” he said after practice, referring to the NFL’s ongoing review of the allegations. “I still stand by what I said then . . . It’s garbage from the first day it came out and it’s still garbage today.”
Although the Broncos are preparing to face the red-hot Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, Manning said the NFL’s investigation isn’t a burden and won’t be a distraction for him. “None, no,” he said.
Last month, Al Jazeera reported that Charles Sly, an intern at an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic, was secretly recorded suggesting that Manning’s wife, Ashley, received deliveries of HGH, which is banned by the NFL. At the time, Manning was on the Colts and rehabbing from neck surgery.
When the report aired, Manning — in an interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters — vehemently denied he had ever used HGH. Sly has recanted the statements he made.
“I think I rotate, Lisa, between being angry, furious, but disgusted is really how I feel — sickened by it,” Manning said. “I’m not sure I understand how someone can make something up about somebody, admit that he made it up and yet somehow it gets published in a story.
“I don’t understand that. Maybe you can explain it to me or somebody else can. It’s completely fabricated. Complete trash, garbage. There are some more adjectives I’d like to be able to use, but it really makes me sick. It makes me sick that it brings Ashley into it, her medical history, her medical privacy being violated. That makes me sick.’’
Asked by Salters if he has ever used HGH or any performance-enhancing drug, Manning said: “Absolutely not.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Associated Press that the league’s investigation into the allegations that Manning had HGH delivered to his house began weeks ago. As of now, it’s unlikely the inquiry will be completed before the Super Bowl.
Although Manning had no problems discussing the HGH story, there was one subject that Manning preferred not to address Thursday. Four days after telling Patriots coach Bill Belichick that this “might be my last rodeo,” Manning, 39, tiptoed around the topic of whether Super Bowl 50 indeed will be his final game.
“I don’t know if that’s been confirmed,” he said playfully when asked about his conversation with Belichick, which NFL Films cameras picked up.
“What happened to private conversations on the 50-yard line? They don’t exist anymore,” he joked. “No confirmation on that whatsoever.”
In typical Belichick fashion, Manning changed the subject, saying, “We are on to Carolina.”