ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **The morning after allegations regarding use of human growth hormone surfaced via an Al Jazeera report, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning took to the ESPN airwaves to vociferously deny the claims made against him.
"Absolutely not," Manning replied when asked directly by ESPN's Lisa Salters whether he had used HGH or any other performance-enhancing drug.
"I know what I've done. I know how hard I've worked during my 18 years of playing in the NFL," he added later in the interview. "There are no shortcuts in the NFL. I've done it the long way. I've done it the hard way.
"Insinuating anything otherwise is a complete and total joke, it's defamation and it really ticks me off."
Manning was one of several players in the NFL and Major League Baseball accused of receiving performance-enhancing drugs or illicit painkillers in the documentary that will air in full on Sunday night.
"I think I rotate, Lisa, between being angry, furious, on and on, but disgusted is really how I feel -- sickened by it," said Manning, who was clearly rankled by the accusations of pharmacist Charlie Sly -- all of which were later recanted by Sly himself in a YouTube video statement Saturday evening.
"I'm not sure I understand how someone can make something up about somebody, admit that he made it up and yet somehow it gets published in a story. I don't understand that. Maybe you can explain it me or somebody else can. It's completely fabricated. Complete trash, garbage. There are some more adjectives I'd like to be able to use, but it really makes me sick.
"It makes me sick that it brings [his wife] Ashley into it, her medical history, her medical privacy being violated. That makes me sick. I don't understand that. I'm in the middle of my throwing workout -- which I enjoy doing -- and I've got to interrupt this workout to come and talk about this. It's not right. I don't understand it."
The report accused Manning of receiving HGH supplements from the Guyer Clinic in Indianapolis. While he Manning said he did visit the clinic, he did so with Colts medical personnel to use a hyperbaric chamber to help improve blood flow. He also said he received "nutrient IV therapies," and that every aspect of his treatment there was under the supervision of Colts medical personnel.
"I busted my butt to get healthy. I did a lot of hard work. I saw a lot of doctors. I went to the Guyer Clinic [in Indianapolis]. He had a hyperbaric chamber that the Colts trainers and doctors thought might be good for me. They went with me and thought it might help. I don't know if it helped. It didn't hurt.
"Time ended up being probably my best medicine, along with a lot of hard work, and that really stings me that whoever this guy is insinuated I cut corners, I broke NFL rules, in order to get healthy.
"It's a joke. It's a freaking joke."
BACK ON THE FIELD ...**
The accusations came in the midst of Manning's second attempt to recover from an injury that cost him regular-season playing time, a torn plantar fascia that will sideline him for a sixth consecutive game Monday night.
Manning spoke with Salters just after his fourth throwing session of the week, which followed work on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. His Saturday session was viewed by Head Coach Gary Kubiak.
"My ball has a little extra heat on it today," Manning said. "I've got some built-up anger, as you might understand."
Manning said he had a "good week" on the field with no setbacks, which was a promising sign after foot soreness that set in Dec. 18 forced him to dial back his work after two consecutive days of practice on Dec. 16 and 17 leading up to the Steelers game.
He added that he hopes to return to practice this week "and then, hopefully, possibly, get on the field."
"I've been in communication with Coach Kubiak. He watches all my throws and gives me feedback," Manning said. "This will be my last day throwing of the week and I'll be there to help the team tomorrow night, and then sit down with Coach Kubiak Tuesday and make a plan for next week."
The last several weeks have not been easy for Manning, but he has tried to make the best of his rehabilitation and has offered advice to Brock Osweiler whenever necessary.
"I've got to do whatever Coach feels is best for the team. It's been an interesting year about that, I'm not going to lie," Manning said. "I've had a good attitude about it. I think I've learned a lot about myself, I've been a good teammate, I've tried to help Brock in any way I can. It's new to me.
"I'll do whatever is best for the team come next week. If they need me to play and be in there, then I'll be ready. But if they don't feel that's the best for the team, then I'll respect that decision and do what I can to help the team."