The NFL cleared Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and Steelers linebacker James Harrison of taking or obtaining any performance-enhancing substances following its investigation into accusations made about the players in an Al Jazeera America documentary last year.
The league provided a statement on the matter Wednesday:
*The NFL found no credible evidence that Pittsburgh's James Harrison and Green Bay's Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers were provided with or used substances prohibited under the NFL-NFL Players Association Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances following a comprehensive investigation into allegations made in a documentary by Al Jazeera America, it was announced today. *
The three players participated in interviews last week at their team facilities.
*Initiated in January, the investigation was led by the NFL's security and legal teams with support from expert consultants and other professionals. The investigation involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, electronic research, and laboratory analysis and review. *
The trio, along with former Broncos and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and free-agent linebacker Mike Neal, were accused of obtaining performance-enhancing drugs in the report, which was released in December. The NFL cleared Manning of any wrongdoing in July. The league hasn't announced details of its investigation of Neal.
The documentary's main source, a former Guyer Institute intern pharmacist named Charlie Sly, recanted his accusations shortly after the report's release. He was recorded with a hidden camera by Al Jazeera America when he made his original statements.
So ends a turbulent few months for Harrison, Matthews and Peppers. Harrison was especially adamant of his innocence. At one point he requested that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell interview him at his home and later said he thought the interview should be broadcast live. All three players eventually complied to interviews and avoided suspension.
The documentary was a sore spot for all of the athletes involved, especially Manning, Harrison, Peppers and Matthews. The four have never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. In a sworn affidavit he and the NFLPA provided to the league prior to being interviewed, Harrison vehemently denied obtaining the supplement "Delta-2," which Sly associated with him.