The NFL cleared three star players on the Packers and Steelers of taking performance-enhancing drugs after a news report had linked them to a pharmacist who said he had provided them with steroids.
The league said it found "no credible evidence" that Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive end Julius Peppers, and Steelers linebacker James Harrison "were provided with or used substances prohibited" under the league's policy against banned substances.
Harrison responded to the news on Instagram. "It's only breaking news cause you thought I was guilty. … I have WORKED for EVERYTHING I have since DAY ONE," he wrote.
There were no comments from Matthews and Peppers.
Two weeks ago, the league threatened to suspend the players indefinitely if they did not meet with its investigators, who were looking into accusations made by Charlie Sly, a pharmacist who told an undercover reporter from the Al-Jazeera America network that he provided the players with steroids.
All three players met with the league last week. The players initially resisted because Sly had recanted his story.
A fourth player — free agent linebacker Mike Neal, who played for the Packers last year — has not been cleared.
The league previously cleared quarterback Peyton Manning of accusations also made in the Al-Jazeera report that he had used banned substances. The league said it "found no credible evidence" that Manning had received or taken prohibited substances. Manning, who retired in the offseason, cooperated with the investigation.
The league's investigation was done by members of the NFL's legal and security teams, and "expert consultants," and involved witness interviews, electronic research and laboratory analysis, the NFL said.
Bridgewater on IR: The Vikings ended quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's season by putting him on injured reserve because of his catastrophic knee injury, suffered on a noncontact play in practice Tuesday. While dropping back to pass, Bridgewater suffered a complete tear of his left ACL and dislocated the knee. He was expected to have surgery in the next several days and could require a year to recover, the team said. Minnesota re-signed quarterback Brad Sorensen, whom it has released Monday. Shaun Hill is in line to be the starter for now.
Steelers: Antonio Brown was advanced $4 million by the team from his 2017 salary under a restructured deal the All-Pro receiver signed before the team left for its final preseason game at Carolina. His compensation for this season now is $10.25 million, reports said.