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Steelers LB James Harrison weighs options in NFL steroid investigation

By The Sports Xchange
Steelers LB James Harrison weighs options in NFL steroid investigation
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) watches the action during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Friday. He's up against an NFL PED investigation. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison said he is weighing his options in regard to whether to cooperate with the NFL investigation into steroid allegations that surfaced late last year via a report by Al-Jazeera.

Harrison was one of four players notified that they face a suspension if they don't consent to an interview with the NFL by Aug. 25. The other three players are Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and unsigned free-agent linebacker Mike Neal.

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Adolpho Birch, the NFL's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs, sent a memo to the NFL Players Association warning that suspensions will go into effect on Aug. 26 if the players fail to cooperate, USA Today reported.

Harrison doesn't mind answering questions -- he said is even willing to face the commissioner -- but isn't thrilled with the process.

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"I don't have a problem doing the interview," Harrison told reporters on Tuesday. "Come to my house. Bring Roger (Goodell) with you."

But Harrison doesn't respect the way the situation is being handled and the NFL Players Association contends there is a lack of evidence because key source Charlie Sly recanted his statements to the media outlet.

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And that's a big factor in why the 38-year-old Harrison hasn't yet agreed to meet with NFL investigators.

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"If that's the case, then somebody could come out and say James Harrison is a pedophile," Harrison said. "They are going to suspend me, put me under investigation for being a pedophile just because somebody said it? I'm not going to answer questions for every little thing some Tom, Dick and Harry comes up with."

So Harrison is prepared to let the situation play itself out as the deadline approaches.

"I'll do what I have to do. They'll do what they have to do," Harrison said about the NFL. "We'll make that decision when that time comes. ... I just am doing what I'm advised to do (by the NFLPA). It's the right thing to do."

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Harrison earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors with the Steelers in 2008, becoming the first undrafted player to win the award.

Harrison, who has spent all but one of his 13 seasons with Pittsburgh, had one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history, returning an interception 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the half in Super Bowl XLII.

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Five-time NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning, who retired after guiding the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl championship in February, also was named in the report. The league recently announced that Manning had been cleared of any wrongdoing, noting he and his wife were "fully cooperative."

Matthews, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, has amassed 67.5 sacks in seven seasons with Green Bay.

A first-round draft pick out of Southern California in 2009, he registered a career-high 13.5 sacks in 2010 en route to leading the Packers to a Super Bowl title.

Peppers, who is entering his 15th season and third with Green Bay, is ninth on the all-time list with 136 sacks.

Peppers had 10.5 sacks last season for the Packers and needs two more to move past Richard Dent and John Randle into seventh place on the career list.

Neal spent his first six seasons with Green Bay. He appeared in all 16 games in each of the past three seasons, starting 28, and has 19 career sacks.

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