|Broncos’ Von Miller says he did nothing wrong|
|Monday, July 22, 2013 9:16 PM|
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The latest distraction for the Denver Broncos comes from All-Pro linebacker Von Miller, who insisted Monday he did nothing wrong in the face of reports he could miss four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy.
“I know I did nothing wrong. I’m sure this’ll be resolved fairly,” Miller tweeted, acknowledging he had seen the reports and adding he was disappointed the Broncos have to open training camp with this news hanging over them.
ESPN first reported the pending discipline for Miller. A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the possible penalty to The Associated Press. The person did not want to be named because the league hasn’t announced any punishment.
Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth said the team would not comment on the penalty, which could be overturned by an appeal. Miller and his agent didn’t return messages left by AP.
The Broncos report to training camp Wednesday with big expectations but also a growing number of off-the-field distractions.
Shortly after last season’s 13-3 campaign ended with a loss to Baltimore in the divisional playoffs, none other than Miller guaranteed a Super Bowl title for Denver for the 2013 season.
“I wasn’t being arrogant or cocky when I made the guarantee. It was something bigger than myself,” Miller said in May in explaining the comment. He added he dedicated the upcoming season to his 6-year-old cousin who was injured in an auto accident last winter.
Then, just last week, left tackle Ryan Clady signed a new contract and, during interviews to discuss the deal, said it was, “Super Bowl or bust, for the most part” for Denver.
It’s the kind of talk, at least in public, that Peyton Manning and coach John Fox disdain. It is, however, in line with what Las Vegas says (At odds ranging between 9-2 and 6-1, the Broncos are widely listed as the favorites to win the Super Bowl) as well as the roster Executive Vice President John Elway has assembled. He added Wes Welker to Manning’s receiving corps, shored up the line with free agent guard Louis Vasquez and used a second-round draft pick to add Wisconsin running back Montee Ball to the mix.
But not all the offseason news has been positive for the Broncos. Elway’s top two assistants, Matt Russell and Tom Heckert, are each serving suspensions after arrests on drunken driving charges — an embarrassing run of news that deprives the Broncos of their top personnel men at a time when personnel decisions are paramount.
The other bit of bad news for Denver this offseason was its inability to keep pass-rushing defensive lineman Elvis Dumervil because of a mix-up with a fax machine that kept the team from receiving his signed contract in time.
The Broncos felt good about replacing Dumervil and his 11 sacks last season but in large part, the comfort came because they had Miller, who has 30 sacks over his first two NFL seasons, lining up on the other side.
Without Miller, the Broncos defense would be missing its best pass rusher for its first four games — against Baltimore, the New York Giants, Oakland and Philadelphia. If suspended, Miller would be able to participate in all of the workouts at training camp but would have to leave the team after its final preseason game on Aug. 29.
NFL, players union talking about HGH tests again: The NFL and players union are talking again about getting a test in place for human growth hormone as early as the upcoming season.
An e-mail obtained by The Associated Press from the NFL Players Association indicates that the league and the NFLPA have jointly hired a doctor to conduct a study on NFL players to determine a good threshold for a positive HGH test. The e-mail was sent by the union to players, in part to explain that the study requires them to have blood drawn during their physical when training camp begins. The e-mail read the blood samples will only be used for the study.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the discussions are focused “on a full resolution of any remaining issues, including the role of a population study.”
The labor agreement that ended the NFL lockout in 2011 requires the league gain union approval before testing players for HGH. The union says it favors testing but has reservations about the appeals process.
The union also has reservations about the way discipline will be handed out and wants to collectively bargain that issue.
Supplemental HGH is a banned substance that is hard to detect and used by athletes for what are believed to be a variety of benefits, whether real or only perceived — such as increasing speed and improving vision.
Among the health problems connected to HGH are diabetes, cardiac dysfunction and arthritis.
In the union’s e-mail, it told the players that Dr. Alan Rogol has been jointly hired by the NFLPA and NFL to oversee the study and supervise two jointly retained biostatisticians. One of those biostatisticians, Donald Berry, will design the study protocol and conduct the analysis. The second will independently review both the protocol and the analysis.
In January, Major League Baseball and the players agreed to HGH blood testing throughout the regular season and to have a World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Canada keep records of each player.
Bengals release G Travelle Wharton
CINCINNATI — The Bengals have released guard Travelle Wharton, who tore up his right knee during the first preseason game last year and missed the season.
Wharton signed with the Bengals after spending eight seasons at Carolina, where he started 99 games at guard and tackle. The Bengals installed him as their starting left guard but he hurt his knee on the third play of the preseason opener against the Jets and needed surgery.
Clint Boling, a fourth-round draft pick in 2011, took over for Wharton and started every game at left guard, including a playoff loss at Houston. The Bengals’ running game ranked 18th last season.
The Bengals have kept their offensive line intact, trying to reach the playoffs for a third straight season, unprecedented in franchise history.