Peyton Manning strongly denies report he used HGH in 2011

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Peyton Manning strongly denied a report set to air on 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.

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.”

The allegations surfaced in an Al Jazeera undercover probe into doping in global sports that is 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 Manning and other 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).

 

Garoppolo, Patriots face Bears to highlight NFL Week 2 preseason betting slate

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Jimmy Garoppolo will be facing his hometown team when the New England Patriots play host to the Chicago Bears in a matchup that could be a little more intense than the typical Week 2 NFL preseason game.

The Patriots and Bears are having joint practices prior to their game on Thursday, and the first was marred by a near-brawl after a run-in between New England CB Malcolm Butler and star Chicago WR Alshon Jeffrey.

The matchup will provide Garoppolo, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, with another opportunity to get comfortable filling in for Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer will be serving his Deflategate suspension during the first four weeks of the regular season.

New England is listed as a four-point favorite against Chicago at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Dating back to 2010, the Patriots are 7-3 straight-up and 6-4 against the spread as a home favorite in the preseason.

Patriots TE Martellus Bennett will face his former team, and might perhaps get some extra targets since All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski could opt to play it safe after sustaining a lower-body injury on Monday.

Chicago is 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 preseason matchups where they were a road underdog according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Thursday’s slate also includes a playoff rematch, with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks listed as 3.5-point favorites against the Minnesota Vikings. Seattle, which is 8-2 SU and ATS in their last 10 preseason home games, have had RB Thomas Rawls back at practice, but it’s more likely that rookie Alex Collins will be first up in the backfield.

For the Vikings, playing Seattle is a test for third-year QB Teddy Bridgewater, who has to show more arm strength to take the next step in his progression. Minnesota is 5-5 both SU and ATS in their last 10 preseason road games.

Robert Griffin III is also expected to play most of the first half for the Cleveland Browns, who are 2.5-point betting favorites against the Atlanta Falcons. The Browns are on a 4-6 ATS run as a preseason home favorite.

Two Saturday matchups to monitor are the New Orleans Saints-Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers-Denver Broncos contests. The Texans, who are three-point favorites, are adapting to new QB Brock Osweiler and new RB Lamar Miller. The Saints’ track record on defense isn’t any better in August than in the regular season; the total has gone OVER in 13 of their last 20 games.

Denver is a 3.5-point favorite against San Francisco. Trevor Siemian, judging from his increased share of first-team reps, is ahead of Mark Sanchez in the Broncos’ QB competition. Denver is just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 preseason games as a home favorite, and seven of those matchups have gone OVER the posted total.

Factory of Sadness: Cleveland fans vote for Manziel over Brown in bracket matchup

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Since it’s March, brackets are all the rage and Cleveland.com decided to get in on the fun.

In the Browns portion of the bracket, Jim Brown was the No. 1 seed pitted against Johnny Manziel, who was the No. 16 seed.

This makes a lot of sense considering the fact that Brown is not only considered the best Browns player of all time, it’s not far-fetched to consider him the best NFL player of all time.  On the other hand, Manziel, well, let’s just say things didn’t go smoothly for the quarterback who was supposed to be the answer to all of the Browns problems.

To be fair, Cleveland.com reports that some fans stuffed the ballot box to ensure Manziel got the win.

However, it’s just not right for Jim Brown to lose to Johnny Manziel in anything football-related. No matter what.

The sadness continues.