Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said a report by Al Jazeera set to air Sunday that suggests he obtained performance-enhancing drugs was "completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage."
Manning angrily denied allegations to ESPN on Sunday morning he used HGH in 2011.
The report is based on secret recordings made by a former intern at an Indianapolis anti-aging institute who now says he fabricated the allegations.
Al Jazeera sent British hurdler Liam Collins undercover to expose performance-enhancing drug use in sports. Collins made secret recordings of Charles Sly, a former intern at the Guyer Institute, where Manning was treated in 2011 following four neck surgeries.
Sly has recanted the claim that Manning used HGH. Sly, who also named other high-profile athletes on the secret recordings, told Al Jazeera the statements attributed to him "are absolutely false and incorrect." Sly told ESPN that he fabricated the allegations to test Collins' legitimacy.
Manning denied ever using PEDs and blasted the report for suggesting he got drugs that were shipped to his wife, Ashley.
"I can't speak for any other athlete. I know what I've done, I know how hard I've worked in my 18 years of playing in the NFL. There are no shortcuts in the NFL. I've done it the long way, I've done it the hard way. And to insinuate anything otherwise is a complete and total joke, it's defamation and it really ticks me off," Manning told ESPN.
The Broncos and Colts also issued statements Sunday morning in support of Manning.
"Knowing Peyton Manning and everything he stands for, the Denver Broncos support him 100 percent," the team said. "These are false claims made to Al Jazeera, and we don't believe the report."
The Colts, whom Manning played for from 1998 to 2011, issued a statement calling the report "utterly ridiculous."
"We are thoroughly familiar with Peyton's tireless work habits, his medical history, and, most importantly, his integrity," the Colts said.
"We also note that the 'source' of this allegation has since recanted his story."
Manning joined the Broncos in 2012 and had a record-setting run, going 47-15 until he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot on Nov. 15. That was the same day he broke Brett Favre's NFL record for most career passing yards.
He's been sidelined ever since, and backup Brock Osweiler will make his sixth straight start Monday night when the Broncos (10-2) host the Bengals (11-3).
"Throughout his NFL career, particularly during his four seasons with the Broncos, Peyton has shown nothing but respect for the game," the Broncos said. "Our organization is confident Peyton does things the right way, and we do not find this story to be credible."
Manning said he sought holistic treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen and nutrient therapy at the Guyer Institute with the consent of the Colts training and medical staff.
Al Jazeera's report claims Manning received HGH from the Indianapolis anti-aging clinic in 2011 while he was still with the Colts. It said the drug, which was later banned by the NFL in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, was delivered to his wife so that the quarterback's name was never attached to the shipments.
Manning told ESPN he's never taken anything that was ever sent to his wife nor has he ever used PEDs.
"Absolutely not. And what hurts me the most about this is whoever this guy is, this slapstick trying to insinuate that in 2011, when I more or less had a broken neck," he said. "... But I had a broken neck and I busted my butt to get healthy, put in a lot of hard work. I saw a lot of doctors."
The report names other high-profile athletes as having obtained PEDs.
The attorney for Phillies slugger Ryan Howard said his client will fight claims made in the Al Jazeera report that his client received performance-enhancing drugs.
William Burck called the claims made against Howard and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals "outright lies."
"It's inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman," Burck said in a statement.
"The extraordinary reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims. We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients' good names," Burck said.
Manning said he had to take time off from his throwing session inside the Broncos' field house to address this story.
"I plan to go throw today a little bit harder. My ball has a little extra heat on it today. I've got some built-up anger as you might understand," Manning said.
Manning said he's had a good week of work without the soreness that developed in his injured foot last week and hopes to return to practice next week. As for when he might play again, he said that he'll do whatever coach Gary Kubiak thinks is best.
"If they need me to play and be in there, then I'll be ready," Manning said. "But if they don't feel that's the best for the team, then I'll respect that decision and do what I can to help the team."