WASHINGTON (AP) – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison wants the NFL to provide “credible evidence” before he agrees to an interview with league officials regarding a media report that linked him and other players to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The NFL Players Association sent a letter on Harrison’s behalf to NFL executive Adolpho Birch on Tuesday asking for more information.
“We have repeatedly requested that the NFL inform him and the NFLPA whether the NFL possesses any credible evidence (e.g., verified documents or verified testimony of witnesses) that warrants an interview of Mr. Harrison regarding a potential violation,” union attorney Heather M. McPhee wrote.
The other active players implicated by the Al-Jazeera report are Green Bay linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and free-agent linebacker Mike Neal, who played the past six seasons with the Packers. Peyton Manning, who is now retired, also was cited in Al-Jazeera’s doping report in December. He wasn’t mentioned in the NFL’s investigation, but USA Today, citing an unnamed source, reported last week that an investigation into Manning’s possible involvement also is progressing.
The NFL first notified Matthews, Peppers, Harrison and Neal about its investigation into the report on Jan. 11.
Al-Jazeera America reported allegations by Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic. But Sly later recanted his claims.
“Especially in a business where the mere mention of a player-employee’s name can generate ratings for a broadcaster, the NFLPA and Mr. Harrison do not believe that unsupported, unsubstantiated verbal remarks provide ‘sufficient credible evidence’ to initiate an investigation of, and require an interview with, an employee,” McPhee wrote.