The NFL was supposed to interview Clay Matthews about his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs on Tuesday, the first day of Green Bay Packers training camp.
That hadn’t happened, Matthews said about an hour-and-a-half after practice, and he was not sure when or if it would happen.
“They know where to find me,” Matthews said.
In late June, the NFL announced it was launching investigations into an Al-Jazeera America documentary, which, the league said, “raised serious issues concerning possible violation” of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. As part of those investigations, Matthews and fellow Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers -- who along with Peyton Manning, James Harrison and former Packers linebacker Mike Neal also were named in the “Dark Side” documentary – were supposed to be interviewed by investigators on the first day of training camp.
In the documentary, Charlie Sly, a former intern at an Indiana anti-aging clinic, is recorded in a hidden-camera video saying he spent several weeks with Neal in Green Bay and that Neal brought “half the team” – including Matthews and Peppers – to meet him. Sly has since recanted everything he said.
Still, the allegations linger. Peppers said he hadn't been interviewed, either.
“I take a lot of pride in the work that I put in and doing it the right way and nothing has changed from my stance now to then,” Matthews said. “It’s upsetting, but it wouldn’t be the first time somebody has said something negative about me. It’s just that now it’s on a much bigger scale and seem to drag on a little bit here. It will be nice when I have my name cleared and we can move on with life. In the meantime, I just kind of put it on the back burner and focus on football.”
On Monday morning, the NFL said it found “no credible evidence” regarding Manning’s alleged use of human growth hormone but said the other investigations were ongoing with “different lines of inquiry and witnesses.” However, the NFL and NFLPA continue to battle over everything and anything, and Matthews, Peppers and the others seem to be stuck in the middle.
“Hopefully, we all fall in line with similar exonerations,” Matthews said. “But, at the same time, I’m still kind of waiting to see how it plays out with the NFL and the NFLPA. I know there’s a lot of back and forth, just because it sets a dangerous precedent. It doesn’t stop me from what I do on the football field. I think that’s the most important thing.”
For Matthews, the start of training camp means the start of the next phase of his return to outside linebacker. Whether he remains there remains to be seen and will be dependent on whether three relatively unproven inside linebackers, Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington and rookie Blake Martinez, will be up the task.
“I’m never really know how that’s going to go,” he said of his role. “It really depends. I think the good thing is that I can play at both positions. There’s no question I enjoy rushing the passer all the time, but when you’re in the middle, you get to go sideline to sideline. So, I’ll be ready for whatever is asked of me.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.