NFL to interview league players named in doping report

AFP
The NFL has played three games each season in London since 2014 to sellout crowds, staging matches at both Wembley and Twickenham and will play four there during the 2017 season (AFP Photo/RONALD MARTINEZ)

The NFL has played three games each season in London since 2014 to sellout crowds, staging matches at both Wembley and Twickenham and will play four there during the 2017 season

The NFL has played three games each season in London since 2014 to sellout crowds, staging matches at both Wembley and Twickenham and will play four there during the 2017 season (AFP Photo/RONALD MARTINEZ)

New York (AFP) - NFL officials will interview players named in a report by Al-Jazeera America alleging the use of performance-enhancing drugs, but retired Denver Broncos star Peyton Manning will not be among them.

A posting on the NFL's website said NFL senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFL Players Association that the talks would be conducted in July, when teams begin training camps for the season that launches in September.

A memo from Birch outlines plans to interview Green Bay Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison on the first day of their team's training camps, July 26 for Green Bay and July 29 for Pittsburgh.

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Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal, a free agent, will be interviewed on or before July 22.

But Mannings, the biggest name in the report, was not included in the memo. As a retired player, he is no longer part of the NFLPA.

Manning, who led the Broncos over Carolina in Super Bowl 50 last February and announced his retirement a month later, denied accusations when the report first aired that he used human growth hormone or performance-enhancing drugs while he was recovering from neck surgery in 2011.

The NFL is investigating, Birch wrote, because the Al-Jazeera America documentary "raised serious issues concerning their possible violation" of the league and union anti-doping policy.

The league has been looking into the report but said the union has not cooperated in scheduling player interviews.

"While the investigation has proceeded, we have yet to interview the players," Birch wrote.

"We have attempted since early April to work through the NFLPA to schedule them, but despite multiple requests the NFLPA has failed to respond, except to seek reconsideration of the basis for the investigation. This continuing delay and avoidance has obstructed our ability to conduct and conclude the investigation."

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