The NFL has cleared Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers following a disputed allegation they were given or used performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs.
The allegation, about substances prohibited under a joint policy by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, originally was made in an Al Jazeera America documentary.
In a statement Wednesday, the NFL said that after an investigation it had found “no credible evidence” that the three players had obtained or used PEDs.
“Initiated in January, the investigation was led by the NFL’s security and legal teams with support from expert consultants and other professionals,” the NFL said. “The investigation involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, electronic research, and laboratory analysis and review.”
A league investigation is still open on a fourth player, linebacker Mike Neal, who is currently a free agent. The NFL has interviewed Neal, but that case is still pending review, a league spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday.
Harrison, Matthews and Peppers participated in interviews with the league last week at their team facilities. However, those interviews came after a long delay.
In June, the NFL had said in a letter to the NFLPA that it planned to interview the four players.
“We have attempted since early April to work through the NFLPA to schedule them, but despite multiple requests the NFLPA has failed to respond, except to seek reconsideration of the basis for the investigation,” the NFL said then. “This continuing delay and avoidance has obstructed our ability to conduct and conclude the investigation.”
Last month, the NFL announced that it has found no credible evidence that now-retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was provided with or used human growth hormone, or HGH.
The accusations were made in Al Jazeera’s report, “The Dark Side,” in December. The report claimed a number of professional athletes, including the NFL players, were provided PEDs by Dr. Dale Guyer, the owner of an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis. The report was based in part on conversations captured on hidden camera.
In a video statement later posted on YouTube, former Guyer Institute employee Charlie Sly recanted his story.
“The statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect,” Sly said at the time.