Packers deny allegations of drug use
The report, released Sunday morning, alleged that outside linebackers Julius Peppers and Mike Neal had obtained a steroid called Delta 2 and that inside linebacker Clay Matthews received unspecified medication to boost his hormone level. Matthews also allegedly was receiving painkillers through Charlie Sly, a former employee of the Guyer Institute, an Indianapolis-based anti-aging institute.Denials came fast and furious from the Green Bay Packers on Sunday after Al Jazeera reported three defensive starters were involved with banned substances.
Sly also implicated Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and other professional athletes while being secretly recorded during the 50-minute documentary. Sly on Sunday recanted all the allegations in the report.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said “all of our players adhere to NFL policies” and offered no further comment. Peppers and Matthews denied any connection to the drugs. Peppers said he was a “little bit shocked” to learn of the allegations and did not know anybody involved with Sly or the drugs.
“It’s not true,” Peppers said. “It’s completely erroneous, and I think it’s irresponsible journalism, in my opinion. I’m subject to the same steroid and drug-testing policy as everybody else. So I don’t understand how I could be linked to something like this.”
Peppers served a four-game suspension during his rookie season when he tested positive for violating the NFL’s policy for banned substances. He has not failed a drug test in the 13 seasons since.
The Al Jazeera documentary alleged Matthews received the prescription painkiller Percocet from Sly before last season’s NFC championship game in Seattle. Percocet is legal in the United States and not included on the NFL’s list of banned substances but must be prescribed by a doctor.
The documentary also alleged Matthews received powerful anti-inflammatory drug Toradol to help with an ankle injury before a game earlier this season.
Matthews, a 2009 first-round pick with the Packers, never has failed a drug test in his career. In the locker room at University of Phoenix Stadium, he said the allegations angered him.
“I think it’s (expletive) to be completely honest with you,” Matthews said. “It’s 100 percent falsified, fabricated information. I don’t who this guy is. I couldn’t tell you what he looks like. I’ve never talked with him. I’ve never communicated with him. So for him to bring my name up like that, which appears to be out of thin air, it’s (expletive) for a lack of a better term.
“I work hard on my reputation, and really that’s all I have. For seven years, I’ve worked my ass off. For this guy to say those type of things, it’s just not true and especially for him to recant everything that he said, too, I think it really just goes to show the (type of) source he is, as well. The truth will come out, and I’m not worried about it because I carry myself a certain way, and that is the right way.”
Matthews said he has never received medication through any channels other than the Packers’ team doctor.
“Every medication I have is prescribed from our team physician,” he said.
The report alleged Neal was Sly’s entry into the Packers’ locker room. Neal attended Merrillville High in northwest Indiana, about an hour from Sly’s high school. Sly alleged he was friends with Neal, saying in the documentary he spent six weeks in Green Bay last season. During that time, Sly said, he spoke with roughly 25 players and directed “10 or 12” to the steroid Delta 2.
Neal served a four-game suspension before the 2012 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He neither confirmed nor denied allegations made against him, electing to not comment on the report directly.
“You might as well stop asking me questions,” Neal said. “I mean, I’m sure you saw how pissed off Peyton Manning was about somebody coming out with false accusations. So if you want to piss me off, that’s one thing. But please don’t — if you want to talk about football, let’s talk about that.”