-- A "furious" Peyton Manning told ESPN today he would never "cut corners," denying allegations in an Al Jazeera report saying that the star quarterback was supplied with a human growth hormone in 2011.
The Denver Broncos quarterback said he never used a human growth hormone (HGH) and called the report -- which alleges steroids and other drugs were shipped to Manning's home in his wife's name -- "completely fabricated" and "complete trash."
"I think I rotated between being angry, furious," Manning told ESPN today. "Disgusted is really how I feel, sickened by it."
The Al Jazeera website report, titled "The Dark Side," said Manning was one of several athletes supplied with performance-enhancing drugs from an anti-aging clinic. It alleges steroids and other drugs were shipped to Manning's home in his wife's name in 2011, while the athlete was recovering from a broken neck; Manning told ESPN hard work and time helped him recover after four neck surgeries.
"Time ended up being probably my best medicine along with a lot of hard work," Manning told ESPN. "It stings me whoever this guy is to insinuate that I cut corners, I broke NFL rules in order to get healthy. It’s a joke."
The report cites a man named Charlie Sly, who allegedly spoke to an undercover reporter working for Al Jazeera, saying Manning and his wife also went to the Guyer Institute clinic in Indiana for intravenous treatments. Manning did say he went to the institute in 2011 to use a hyperbaric chamber recommended by doctors, ESPN said.
Al Jazeera claimed that its source, Sly, was a pharmacist at the Guyer Institute, but Sly told ESPN he isn’t a pharmacist and was not at the institute in 2011, but two years later. State licensing records indicate that a Charles David Sly was licensed as a pharmacy intern in Indiana from April 2010 to May 2013, according to ESPN.
ESPN also reported that Sly also said he recanted his story to Al Jazeera when he realized that it had used information he had "made up" to British hurdler Liam Collins, the undercover reporter who Sly said was trying to get into the supplementation business.
Dale Guyer of the Guyer Institute said in a statement that Sly had a "brief three-month internship” there in 2013, “during which time Peyton was not even being treated or present in the office,” Guyer said. "I think it is obvious that Mr. Sly has fabricated this whole thing for reasons I cannot fathom.”
Guyer said, "I find it extremely disturbing that the source of Al Jazeera's story, a former unpaid intern named Charles Sly, would violate the privacy of Mrs. Manning's medical records and be so callous and destructive as to purposely fabricate and spread stories that are simply not true."
Aside from the ESPN interview, Manning also released a personal statement today, saying, "The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. It never happened. Never. I really can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up.”
"I have no reason to believe these allegations are based in fact or have any truth. In fact, I can say with absolute certainty they are not," Guyer said.
"I am proud to have treated Peyton and helped him through his rehabilitation," Guyer said. "Mr. Manning is one of the most honorable and upstanding individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing."
Manning told ESPN he won't "lose any sleep over this report" and instead plans to "keep my head up above it, keep pressing on," as he tries to "get back onto the field next week" after a foot injury sidelined him last month.
The NFL declined to comment.