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Peyton Manning HGH investigation will continue despite retirement

Colts Broncos Football

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to take the field prior to an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)


Quarterback Peyton Manning’s decision to retire from the game doesn’t mean that the league will retire its current investigation regarding whether Manning obtained and used HGH in 2011.

Per a league source, the NFL’s review of the situation continues.

It’s unclear what has or hasn’t been done, because the league is treating the investigation like it treats most other investigations, with a high degree of secrecy and no transparency. But this dynamic, which wasn’t present in the highly public #Deflategate melodrama, makes Patriots fans even more suspicious that the Manning case inevitably will be brushed under the closest rug.

Even if the NFL intends to fully investigate, the league has little power to obtain evidence. With Manning now retired, he could (in theory) decline to cooperate any further. As previously explained, the league will get the smoking gun (if there is one) only if a prosecution or a lawsuit makes private documentation public -- or if Manning and his wife sign a sufficiently broad authorization form that would allow the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis to give the league the documents it would need.

Absent clear evidence that the report from Al Jazeera was accurate, the league will do nothing. Even then, what would the league do? Manning is retired and beyond the reach of the PED policy.

The only potential glitch arises if he is working for a team in a non-playing capacity once the investigation ends. The league previously has declined to address whether Manning would be subject to discipline as an executive for something he did as a player.