The league announced on Wednesday that all three players have been cleared following a short investigation where the NFL looked into the possibility that the three men had acquired and used performance-enhancing substances.
“The [league has] 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-NFLPA Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances following a comprehensive investigation into allegations made in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America,” the NFL said in a statement.
Much of the report was based on the testimony of Charlie Sly, who has since recanted everything he said, which probably made it even easier for the league to clear all three players.
The NFL investigation ends a suspenseful two months for all three players.
Back in June, the NFL had said that it planned to interview each player on the first day of training camp, but that when that didn’t happen, the league decided to play hard ball.
On Aug. 15, the NFL threatened to suspend each of the players named in the report unless they cooperated with the league’s investigation. The three players were interviewed by the NFL on Aug. 24 and 25.
Before he was interviewed last week, Harrison made it clear that he wanted the NFL to publicly announce that he had been cleared, just like they did for Manning.
“They are going to clear my name and give me the same sendoff they gave [retired quarterback] Peyton Manning,” Harrison said, via ESPN.com. “I’m going to be cleared. They are going to give me the same thing, flash, across the bulletin board, NFL, Instagram, Twitter, all that — ‘James Harrison cleared.'”
One player who has not yet been cleared is free agent linebacker Mike Neal. Neal was interviewed on Aug. 25, but he wasn’t named in the NFL’s statement that cleared each player on Wednesday, which means the league is likely still investigating his situation.
Source: CBS Sports / James Harrison, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers won’t be suspended