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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been listed in a new Al Jazeera report as one of several prominent professional athletes who were supplied illegal performance-enhancing drugs from a pharmacist who once worked at an Indiana-based pharmacy.
Al Jazeera’s documentary set to air Sunday reports that Manning was given a supply of human growth hormone in 2011, while he was recovering from his 2011 surgery, from a pharmacist then employed at the anti-aging Guyer Institute in Indiana. The report cites the pharmacist, Charlie Sly, who allegedly spoke to an undercover reporter working for the network for an undercover probe into doping in global sports. Sly later recanted his story, first to Al Jazeera and then to ESPN.
In the documentary, Sly also mentioned Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and boxer Mike Tyson as other athletes who received HGH shipments from him while he worked at the Indianapolis-based Guyer Institute.
In the report, titled “The Dark Side,” Al Jazeera says in an article shared in advance with The Huffington Post that steroids and other drugs were shipped to the home address of Manning in 2011 in the name of his wife, Ashley, so that the quarterback’s name was never attached to the shipments.
Sly, now based in Austin, Texas, also accused Manning and his wife in the undercover video of going to the clinic after its normal business hours for intravenous treatments.
In a statement to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen Sunday night, Manning vehemently denied the claims: “For the record, I have never used HGH. It absolutely never happened. The whole thing is totally wrong. It’s such a fabrication, I’m not losing any sleep over it, that’s for sure.”
He added, “the allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. It never happened. Never. I really can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up.”
He went on to say that, “Yes, I have been a patient under Dr. Guyer. I have had nutrient therapy, oxygen therapy and other treatments that are holistic in nature but never HGH. My wife (Ashley) has never provided any medication for me to take. Ashley and I never attended the clinic together after hours. There were times when I went in the morning and there were times when I went after practice so this thing about `after hours’ is so misleading because it may have been 5:15 pm because their office closed at 5.”
Sly told ESPN Saturday night that he recanted his story to Al Jazeera when he realized that they had used information he had “made up” to Liam Collins, a British hurdler and the undercover reporter who he says was trying to get into the supplementation business.
Sly told ESPN he was a student intern at The Guyer Institute in 2013 rather than 2011 as the Al Jazeera story alleges.
He told ESPN he was “testing” Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter by dropping “names like Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and James Harrison.” He said none were clients, and while Manning, Howard and Harrison were all mentioned in Al Jazeera’s HGH investigation, Jeter was not.
“When I realized Al Jazeera was using a secret taping and Collins as a so-called investigative reporter, I was baffled,” he said. “I cannot believe that can happen. That’s why I recanted the story. It wasn’t true and I was trying to pull one over on Collins to see if he had any idea of what he was talking about.”
“I was trying to determine whether this guy (Collins) was legitimate or just trying to steal some knowledge about the business,” Sly said.
He added, “When I realized Al Jazeera was using a secret taping and Collins as a so-called investigative reporter, I was baffled. I cannot believe that can happen. That’s why I recanted the story. It wasn’t true and I was trying to pull one over on Collins to see if he had any idea of what he was talking about.”
The report links several other athletes to HGH and other drugs, including Packers linebacker Mike Neal, who allegedly introduced teammates Julius Peppers and others to Sly, and mentions Steelers linebacker James Harrison, defensive end Peppers and Neal as athletes who received shipments of a new performance enhancing drug called Delta-2 from him.
The report goes on to say that Sly furnished Clay Matthews with painkillers, and that Howard, Zimmerman and Tyson received drugs from Sly.
Harrison, Zimmerman and Howard all denied the allegations to the network. Neal, Peppers and Tyson didn’t respond to requests for comment, Al Jazeera said.
The NFL and players union added human growth hormone testing to the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 but the side didn’t agree to testing terms until 2014. Nobody has tested positive, which would trigger a four-game suspension.
Manning, who joined the Broncos in 2012, has been sidelined since Nov. 15 by a left foot injury. Brock Osweiler makes his sixth consecutive start in Manning’s place Monday night when the Broncos (10-4) host the Bengals (11-3).
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