Mike Neal’s reversal invites speculation as to the reason for it

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As of Thursday, free-agent defensive lineman Mike Neal was determined not to meet with the NFL regarding the league’s PED investigation arising from December’s Al Jazeera documentary. As of Friday, Neal had done a 180.

So why did he do it? Let’s speculate as to the potential reasons.

First, Neal SURELY realizes he has no chance of getting signed unless and until his name is cleared. It won’t be cleared until he submits to the interview. Even if his words are twisted and warped and taken out of context to support a desired conclusion that he used PEDs, the sooner that comes to a head and he serves what would be a six-game suspension, the sooner he’ll be free and clear to return to the NFL.

Second, Friday’s announcement from Major League Baseball clearing Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard of PED violations due to allegations made in the same documentary may have prompted Neal to realize that he, too, will be cleared if he simply cooperates.

“The accusations from Al Jazeera came out of nowhere, and I was shocked and outraged by their false claims,” Ryan Howard said in a statement issued Friday. “I welcomed the investigation by Major League Baseball as an opportunity to clear my name. I was fully cooperative and transparent in the process, and MLB’s findings validate what I have said publicly. I am glad that this part of the process has concluded, and I look forward to holding the responsible people accountable for these false and defamatory claims in my ongoing litigation against Al Jazeera and its reporters.”

Coupled with the exoneration of Peyton Manning, Neal may have realized that, even if the league has opted to presume guilt and work backward to prove it, they still won’t be able to make the pieces fit in this case.

Third, perhaps the NFL and the NFLPA finally have had an off-the-record, wink-nod conversation regarding the league’s unwillingness to give credence to the Al Jazeera report but its inability to do so unless the players cooperate. (Would it surprise anyone if the league and Peyton Manning had communications to that effect before he submitted to an interview?) The only problem with this hypothesis is that the NFL and the NFLPA currently don’t enjoy the level of trust needed to get the union to take a leap of faith based on a wink and a nod. Likewise, the union justifiably was concerned about the precedent created by interviewing players based solely on the recanted allegations of an individual who already has been discredited by the Manning investigation.

Regardless of the reason, all four of the accused players — Neal, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, Packers linebacker Julius Peppers, and Steelers linebacker James Harrison — will submit to interviews. Although things could get dicey if the players balk at certain questions asked, anything other than an eventual statement exonerating them will be a surprise, and it will give even more ammunition for those who wonder whether these investigations are more about sending messages and flexing muscles than ferreting out the truth.

26 responses to “Mike Neal’s reversal invites speculation as to the reason for it

  1. Given that the league completely cleared Manning, I don’t see how the Comish can do anything other than clear the other players. By forcing them to “interview” he shows his power, but if he suspends one of them he opens himself up for criticism for not fully investigating Manning. I just think this is another arrogant show by Goodell, more muscle flexing by a guy who has gone postal with power. It’s nuts.

  2. I commend him for wanting to be better than Brady. Cooperation will get you much better results than obfuscation.

  3. For starters, any good PI could find out whether this guy actually did spend a few weeks in Green Bay when he says he did. Until you’ve done that, you have no reason to pursue anything. Has Goodell established that portion of the story? Has he bothered at all?

  4. IMO, the league had no choice but to investigate. After the al-jazeera report was covered by every network and every blogger, their hand was dorced. Had they not investigated, cries of COVER-UP would have inundated the press.
    Unless the players are totally stupid and admit to the drug usage in the interviews, they will be exonerated.

  5. Neal might be currying favor from both the NFL by volunteering for the interview, and from the NFLPA by falling on the sword and telling the other players what the interview questions are. He really has nothing to lose at this point.

  6. “perhaps the NFL and the NFLPA finally have had an off-the-record, wink-nod conversation regarding the league’s unwillingness to give credence to the Al Jazeera report but its inability to do so unless the players cooperate. (Would it surprise anyone if the league and Peyton Manning had communications to that effect before he submitted to an interview?) ”
    ______________________________

    Everyone knows this a rubber stamp, white wash “investigation”.
    Even in his exit from the league, Peyton’s* rising tide floats everyone in his wake to exoneration.

    What a sham. Has Chinese HGH shipped to his house(s), bullies/ intimidates the unwitting whistleblowers family, hires a high horsepower cleaner-upper in Ari Fleischer, cleans out Guyer Institute of it’s records and paper trail, THEN the NFL “investigators” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge )go in with blindfolds on and pulls a collective Sgt. Shultz.

    Yeah, Peyton’s is clean all right. You bet, squeaky clean with his fake SB ring and his fake stolen NFL TD record.

    Peyton*

  7. “Would it surprise anyone if the league and Peyton Manning had communications to that effect before he submitted to an interview?”

    If it does then they haven’t been paying attention. Goodell might be sorely tempted to go after Harrison though, he has had wood for him for some time now. Neal would probably be in the greatest jeopardy in a real investigation though, he did his offseason work in a facility run by Sly’s business partner, making the idea of a handshake agreement to go light pretty realistic

  8. Invites speculation? Simple. Dude wants to get paid. He doesn’t have a contract like Harrison nor the Rooney’s behind the scenes trying to pull strings, so acting defiant on some sort of moral principal is meaningless.

  9. Yo “thehatefulnerd”…

    Are you the same hatefulnerd from the old ‘Packfans’ group’?
    A former resident of Green Bay’s Cherry St.?

  10. orange and blue own the nfl says:
    Aug 20, 2016 10:34 AM

    I commend him for wanting to be better than Brady. Cooperation will get you much better results than obfuscation.

    ————————————-
    You mean the Brady that sat for seven hours of questioning during which time he answered every question asked of him? The Brady who was described as “completely cooperative” by the NFL’s chosen investigator? It’s all in the Wells Report. You just need to read it.

  11. Any potential he had was squandered by his coach’s total lack of understanding how to prepare him, and the ineptitude of the team he played for. After he is cleared he will be forced to retire and he will sue his former employer.

  12. Neal is doing the right thing. He is just now recovering from the brain-washing he suffered from, which permeates the entire state. The only way to save yourself is to leave. He is lucky.

  13. I’ve always thought the NFLPA’s strategy of portraying every league move or utterance as a crime against humanity as counter productive and nonsensical. It’s a localised version of picking a fight with the media, which never ends well.

    Besides, a brain injured circus monkey realizes that the NFL had no choice but to pursue this Al Jazeera business to its end. All you have to do is venture into the comment section of any NFL centric site to see that NFL public opinion is driven by the angry, irraational, and stone cold dimwitted section of the NFL universe.

  14. The players never should have resisted on this. They dragged other drama into an argument where they both have the same goal, to sweep this story under the rug and get it out of the way. The NFL doesn’t want to find anything about this report which is why they have never contacted said reported and looked at his evidence.

  15. Even if his words are twisted and warped and taken out of context to support a desired conclusion that he used PEDs
    —-
    Words are words, it’s all on record, can’t be twisted, warped or taken out of context. If you don’t like the league, don’t follow the league.

  16. I think it makes total sense that the commish wants to especially talk to the Packers since THREE players were involved. Coincidental? I don’t think so.

  17. I was wrong. I thought at least one of the players would take this to court with the union’s backing. But I definitely didn’t think Neal would be the one.

  18. Brady cooperated and instead of getting suspended for deflating balls because of a lack of evidence and NFL admitting under oath they had no evidence the NFL suspended Brady for destroying his cell phone they previously told him they didn’t need. Be careful players

  19. I commend all for doing the right thing and realizing the league holds all the cards (as they should). The league’s number one job is to put forth a product from a level playing field. Maintaining competitiveness as well. Glad the players like Brady (who think bending the rules are okay) are finding themselves with nothing to do as the season opens.

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