It appears that no players named in Al-Jazeera's PED report will escape discipline without meeting with the league first.
The NFL informed Pittsburgh Steelers' linebacker James Harrison, Green Bay Packers' linebackers Clay Matthews III and Julius Peppers, as well as former Packers' linebacker Mike Neal, that they must submit to interviews regarding the report by August. 25 or face indefinite suspensions for conduct detrimental to the league.
Every player has since agreed to be interviewed, along with Neal, who is currently a free agent looking for an interested party. Neal had first refused to meet with the league, but has since changed his tone after the threat of missing games this season.
The NFLPA reportedly told the players not to meet with the NFL initially, arguing that the league didn't have enough credible evidence to demand the interviews. The NFL appears determined to get to the truth, even though the intern named in Al-Jazeera's report, Charles Sly, has since recanted his statements.
If any of the players are suspended - which would be separate from any future discipline imposed under the NFL's drug policy - commissioner Roger Goodell would make the decision as to when they could be reinstated.
The Players Association would like to stop Goodell from setting yet another precedent in regards to discipline, as they believe he should not have the authority to suspend players without sufficient proof of wrongdoing.
If Neal is cleared of any wrongdoing, much like now-retired quarterback Peyton Manning was earlier this year after being named in the report, he could receive added interest on the free agent market. For the moment it appears that the players are willing to do just about anything to get on the field come the start of the 2016 NFL season.
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press