GREEN BAY - On the first day of training camp next week, NFL officials will travel to Green Bay to interview Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, two players linked to performance enhancers and other drugs in a report by Al Jazeera last December.
Matthews and Peppers, the two starters at outside linebacker for the Packers, have denied the allegations and questioned the authenticity of the report in comments made late in the 2015 season.
Respectively, they called the report “irresponsible journalism” and “100% falsified.”
The Packers held their annual meeting of shareholders Thursday at Lambeau Field, and the event concluded with a news conference for team President and CEO Mark Murphy. In brief and nondescript remarks, Murphy became the first team official to comment on the league’s investigation. He did not share his personal opinion on the matter.
“The league is pursuing that,” Murphy said. “I know there’s been some resistance from the (NFL Players Association) about the credibility of some of the sources there. But I don’t think we know much more than that.”
Murphy said the organization’s role in the investigation is minimal. The only contribution is to work with the league office and set up interviews, which will be held Tuesday when the Packers open camp.
Also scheduled to be interviewed are linebacker James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mike Neal, an unrestricted free agent who started for the Packers last season.
The decision by the league to move forward with interviews was first reported by USA TODAY Sports in late June. The NFLPA responded with a strong statement that questioned the league’s process.
“The NFL has chosen to initiate an investigation of these players based upon now-recanted statements that appeared in an Al Jazeera report,” the statement said. “The NFLPA requested from the NFL any additional evidence supporting an investigation of the players; the NFL did not provide any such evidence, nor did they inform the NFLPA or the players that any such evidence exists. Instead, the NFL has decided to publicly pressure the players into submission. We will continue to advise our players about their rights and hold the NFL accountable.”