SAN FRANCISCO — Peyton Manning said any investigation into his alleged use of HGH would result in a “big, fat nothing.” The NFL will give it a shot anyway.
“As you know, that report involved allegations that we take very seriously,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on the “Rich Eisen Show” podcast on Tuesday. “They were allegations well beyond any individual player and we take those seriously. We’re working with law enforcement, we’re working with USADA, we’re working with Major League Baseball, which is also involved, to make sure that we investigate that seriously, fully, thoughtfully and just like any other investigation we allow the facts to come about. That’s where the focus is right now.”
Manning was one of the players linked to HGH in an Al Jazeera report in late December.
Manning will be the starting quarterback for the Broncos on Sunday in Super Bowl 50. He angrily has maintained that the reports are false.
”I can’t speak for anybody else,” Manning said on Monday night. “I’ve addressed this before. It’s why I welcome this NFL investigation, because I know the rules of the NFL and I respect the rules, they’re important to me. And so what this report alleges that I did is simply not true. It’s fabricated. It’s junk. It’s garbage. I could give you a long list of other words for it. I can guarantee this investigation, what it will find is an absolute big, fat nothing. That’s how I feel about it.”
Many believe that Manning, 39, will retire after Sunday’s game. Any NFL investigation would not be completed until long after Super Bowl 50.
As for the story that dominated the run-up to last year’s Super Bowl involving a rule infraction and a future Hall of Fame quarterback, Goodell said the league spent the 2015 doing “spot checks” on the pressure in footballs and there were no violations. Goodell said the league wants to “make sure the clubs understand that we’re watching these issues.”
Goodell wound up suspending Tom Brady for four games after an investigation into the use of purposely underinflated footballs in last year’s AFC title game. That suspension was overturned in federal court before the start of the season. In October the NFL filed a brief to appeal that decision, and the appeal is scheduled to be heard March 3.
“My first obligation . . . is to uphold the integrity of the game and uphold the rules of the game and make sure that all 32 teams are operating under the same rules, all players are operating under the same rules,” Goodell told Eisen. “You do that on a consistent basis. I have great admiration for Tom. I know him personally. Obviously, I respect his playing ability. He’s an extraordinary player, a sure Hall of Famer. I have nothing but admiration for him, but I have to make sure we continue to do the things that are necessary to protect the integrity of our game and I will do that without compromise.”
For the second Super Bowl in a row, that means an investigation into one of the game’s great players.