Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning strongly denied a report scheduled to air Sunday night that says he received human growth hormone through his wife while he was recovering from a series of neck surgeries in 2011 as a member of the Colts.
"It's completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage," Manning said on Sunday morning in an interview with Lisa Salters of ESPN. Asked directly by Salters whether Manning had ever taken HGH, he said he had not.
"Angry, furious, disgusted is really how I feel," Manning said. "Sickened by it. I'm not sure I understand how someone can make something up about somebody, admit that he made it up, and yet somehow it's published in a story."
A report by Al Jazeera network claims during a probe into global doping — Al Jazeera sent British hurdler Liam Collins undercover — that Manning received HGH through his wife, Ashley, from an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis.
The drug has been banned by the NFL, which the league and NFL Players Association agreed to as part of their last collective bargaining agreement in August 2011.
Testing for HGH didn't begin until 2014, and no players have tested positive for it.
"The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up," Manning said in a statement. "It never happened. Never. … Whoever said this is making stuff up."
Manning said on ESPN he is particularly upset his wife has become part of the story.
"It makes me sick that it brings Ashley into it, her medical history being violated," Manning said.
The report includes information from former Guyer Institute pharmacist Charlie Sly, who apparently spoke to an Al Jazeera undercover reporter examining the doping story. Sly indicated Manning was among several athletes given PEDs at the Indianapolis-based clinic, according to the report.
However, Sly subsequently recanted his statement in a video posted on YouTube.
"The statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect," Sly said. "To be clear, I am recanting any such statements and there is no truth to any statement of mine that Al Jazeera plans to air."
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who represents Manning, told NFL Network that Manning has never used HGH and has never failed any league drug test.
Manning issued a statement to ESPN explaining his association with the clinic but denied using HGH.
The Broncos said in a statement they believe Manning.
"Knowing Peyton Manning and everything he stands for, the Denver Broncos support him 100 percent," the statement said. "These are false claims made to Al Jazeera, and we don't believe the report."
The Colts, for whom Manning played from 1998-2011, issued a statement calling the report "utterly ridiculous."
The report also implicated Phillies slugger Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals; a representative for both strongly denied that either had used HGH.