Ryan Zimmerman, others deny growth hormone accusation pitched in new documentary

WASHINGTON — Peyton Manning strongly denied an Al Jazeera that contends the Denver Broncos quarterback received human growth hormone through his wife during his recovery from neck fusion surgeries in 2011 in Indianapolis.

The same documentary says the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, the Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, and Taylor Teagarden of the Chicago Cubs received the growth hormone from the same source.

In a statement Saturday night, Manning said: “The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. It never happened. Never.”

He added, “I really can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff  up.”

William Burck, a who represents Howard and Zimmerman, provided the following statement on behlaf of his clients:

“It’s inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman. The extraordinarily 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.”

The Washington Nationals have since issued a statement supporting Zimmerman:

“We do not find Al Jazeera’s report — which has been recanted by their source — to be credible. Ryan has unequivocally stated that these allegations are false. The Lerner family and our organization fully support him. We are confident Major League Baseball’s investigation will show the allegations levied in this report are unfounded. We will fully cooperate with MLB and refer all questions to them at this time.”

The allegations surfaced in an Al Jazeera undercover probe into doping in global sports that was set to air Sunday and was shared in advance with The Huffington Post.

The report claims Manning received HGH from an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic in 2011 while he was still with the Colts. It said the drug, which was banned by the NFL in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, was delivered to his wife, Ashley, so that the quarterback’s name was never attached to the shipments.

Liam Collins, a British hurdler, went undercover and spoke with Charlie Sly, an Austin, Texas-based pharmacist who worked at the Guyer Institute, the Indiana-based anti-aging clinic in 2011. Sly allegedly names the high profile athletes as having received HGH from the clinic.

However, Sly backtracks in a subsequent statement to Al Jazeera, saying Collins secretly recorded his conversations without his knowledge or consent.

“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. Under no circumstances should any of those recordings, statements or communications be aired.”

The NFL and players union added human growth hormone testing to the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 but the side didn’t agree to testing terms until 2014. Nobody has tested positive, which would trigger a four-game suspension.

Manning, who joined the Broncos in 2012, has been sidelined since Nov. 15 by a left foot injury. Brock Osweiler makes his sixth consecutive start in Manning’s place Monday night when the Broncos (10-4) host the Bengals (11-3).

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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