After mulling it over, Neal changed his mind and consents to an interview with the league after all.
Only a few days ago, it appeared as though the “Al Jazeera four” were prepared to dig their heels in and stonewall the NFL’s request for interviews on the since recanted report of PED use. In just the past few days, all have reversed course and agreed to speak.
Free-agent linebacker Mike Neal was the final holdout, until Friday that that is. Dan Graziano for ESPN.com reports Neal will join former Packers teammates Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers as well as Steelers linebacker James Harrison in submitting to the league’s request.
The league was threatening to suspend any player who was named in Al Jazeera’s report if they refused to meet about the allegations. While few would disagree this was a clear overreach by the NFL — no evidence has been presented other than the story, the source for which backtracked on — all four players seem to have come to the realization it will be easier to consent to interviews and put this matter behind them.
It probably doesn’t hurt to see sluggers Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman were cleared of the HGH use described in the Al Jazeera story by Major League Baseball. The NFL previously already met with and cleared retired quarterback Peyton Manning of the allegations as well, so there’s precedent that this will all just go away.
Neal and his NFL brethren no doubt still have reason to be displeased with the way this whole situation has gone down. That being said, the sooner they all talk, the sooner they can likely put this and any talk of possible suspensions behind them.