(Reuters) - The NFL has set an Aug. 25 deadline for four players to meet with the league regarding allegations of doping or they face the prospect of being handed suspensions, it was reported on Monday.
Green Bay linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers along with Pittsburgh's James Harrison and free agent Mike Neal are facing punishment for their failure to speak with the NFL regarding an investigation into their use of performance enhancing drugs.
Adolpho Birch, the NFL's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs, sent a memo to the NFL Players Association warning that suspensions would take effect on Aug. 26 if the players failed to cooperate. A copy of the letter to the NFLPA was obtained and reported by the NFL's website (www.nfl.com).
Any suspension will remain in effect until the players meet with league investigators and then Commissioner Roger Goodell will decide whether to lift any disciplinary action.
The accusation against the players was made in a December report by Al Jazeera America, who said that a former intern pharmacist told an undercover reporter that the four players, and retired quarterback Peyton Manning, were supplied with performance enhancing drugs.
The pharmacist later recanted his statement but the league is investigating the report and said that multiple attempts had been made to set up interviews with the accused players.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien