Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison said in an affidavit sent to the NFL that he never met nor communicated with the source of a media report that linked him and other players to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Harrison has insisted that league officials have to provide “credible evidence” before he agrees to an interview. The NFL Players Association sent a letter on Harrison’s behalf along with the signed affidavit to NFL executive Adolpho Birch on Monday.
“Neither the CBA nor the Policy state that a player must agree to an in-person interview based upon random, baseless verbal remarks or face discipline for a failure to cooperate with a league investigation,” union attorney Heather M. McPhee wrote.
“In the absence of the existence of any documented, credible evidence, this affidavit constitutes reasonable cooperation by (Harrison).”
The other active players implicated by the Al-Jazeera report are Green Bay linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and free-agent linebacker Mike Neal, who played the past six seasons with the Packers. Peyton Manning, who is now retired, also was cited in Al-Jazeera’s doping report in December.
The NFL first notified Matthews, Peppers, Harrison and Neal about its investigation into the report on Jan. 11.
Al-Jazeera America reported allegations by Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic. But Sly later recanted his claims.
“I have met thousands of people during my career, but to the best of my knowledge and recollection, I have never met the individual who is apparently named Charles Sly,” Harrison said in the affidavit.
The 38-year-old Harrison, who was The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, also said: “I have never violated the NFL Policy Performance Enhancing Substances.”