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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning has been a legend since he was in high school, so we shouldn’t be shocked that the NFL and NFL analysts are in no rush to condemn him for alleged PED use.

While Jim Nantz and others want to just sweep it under the rug, the New York Times did some digging and not surprisingly found out there is some meat to the story.

As I turned over the possibility that Sly had lied to the undercover reporter, I kept coming back to the names. Why these specific athletes?

With the help of my New York Times colleagues Ken Belson and Doris Burke, I scrutinized the list of names, and it soon appeared less random than at first blush. Nearly all of the athletes he named are clients of Jason Riley, a fitness trainer based in Sarasota, Fla.

Sly is a business partner of Riley’s. When Sly applied for a pharmacist license in Florida, he used Riley’s home address.

Riley and Sly founded Elementz Nutrition, a nutritional supplements company whose website and Facebook page feature many athletes Sly mentioned on camera. Zimmerman is featured on the website; Howard, Neal and Keller on the Facebook page. In one photograph on Facebook, Riley poses at his gym, the Compound, between the mountainous Howard and the no less imposing Neal.

What to make of Sly? In the end, this story hinges on his credibility. A man who operates in the athletic shadows, he was confronted with his hours of undercover interviews, and recanted. He proclaimed himself an idle boaster.

What was he supposed to do, if what he had said was true? Acknowledge it and allow his words to become his manacles?

Mitosomal growth factors, stem cells and pig brain peptide: He talked of all with a chemist’s ease. His network, as he described it, extends from Germany and Switzerland to Vancouver, where Chad Robertson, a pharmacist, said Sly was a savant of doping.

Also while it was implied that the HGH was for Peyton, the Al Jazeera report nor Sly ever said they had knowledge of Peyton taking HGH—just that it was shipped to his wife’s home.

One other thing from the NY Times report was this, though: Riley’s most famous client...

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

-- Glenn Erby

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