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Thursday’s roundup: Three meet with NFL investigators

Detroit News wire services

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, and Packers defensive players Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers met this week with NFL investigators looking into allegations linking them to performance-enhancing drugs, the players’ union said Thursday.

Matthews and Peppers met with league representatives on Wednesday, while Harrison did so on Thursday, according to the NFL Players Association.

Last week, the league threatened Harrison, Matthews, Peppers and free agent Mike Neal with indefinite suspensions if they did not meet with investigators. All of them were mentioned in an Al-Jazeera television interview with Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic. In the December report, Sly made claims of PED use by several athletes, including Harrison, Peyton Manning and the three others, but later recanted his claims.

The since-retired Manning was cleared after a separate NFL investigation in which he granted interviews and provided all records sought by league investigators.

The league’s deadline for cooperation from the four current players was Thursday. The NFL first notified the four on Jan. 11 about the investigation into the Al-Jazeera report.

NFLPA attorney Heather McPhee sent a letter to the NFL last week accusing it of trying to “bully and publicly shame” Harrison without offering evidence beyond a brief mention in the Al-Jazeera interview. McPhee’s letter said Harrison would meet with the NFL at 5 p.m. Aug. 30 at the team’s facility, and would only discuss the portion of the Al-Jazeera interview that mentioned the 14-year veteran.

But Harrison agreed to take the meeting before the NFL’s deadline, and so did Matthews and Peppers.

Extra points

The Browns traded linebacker Barkevious Mingo to the Patriots for a 2017 fifth-round pick.

The Browns selected Mingo with the No. 6 pick in 2013. Mingo, a former LSU standout, has recorded just seven sacks in three seasons and spent much of last season on special teams.

Mingo’s size — 6-foot-4, 240 pounds — and speed made him intriguing. The Browns moved Mingo, 25, from outside linebacker to inside earlier this summer.

Cleveland declined to exercise the fifth-year option on Mingo’s rookie contract in May. With the trade of Mingo, left tackle Joe Thomas and cornerbacks Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert are the only first-round selections by Cleveland from 2007 to 2014 that are still with the team.

The Browns now own Philadelphia’s 2017 first-round pick, Tennessee’s 2017 second-round pick, New England’s 2017 fifth-round pick, Indianapolis’ 2017 seventh-round pick and Philadelphia’s 2018 second-round pick. Cleveland has conditionally surrendered its 2017 fourth-round pick to Philadelphia and its 2017 sixth- or seventh-round pick to San Francisco.

... John Elway, Bruce Arians and Tom Coughlin reportedly have been added to the NFL’s competition committee.

Broncos President Elway, Cardinals coach Arians and recently retired Coughlin, a two-time Super Bowl winner when he was coach of the Giants, bring to 11 the number of members of the committee. Rams coach Jeff Fisher has left the committee.

... A Louisiana judge formally imposed a 20-year prison sentence on former Packers, Vikings and Saints safety Darren Sharper, who last week was sentenced by a federal judge to 18 years and four months in a drug and rape case with victims in four states.

... Proponents of an NFL stadium in Las Vegas say they’ve narrowed their list to two potential sites and are unwilling to accept any less than $750 million in public funding toward the project, which they hope will provide a new home for the Raiders.

Representatives from Majestic Realty and the Las Vegas Sands casino company updated an oversight committee on their effort to reach a deal to lure the Raiders from Oakland.

Developers estimate that a 65,000-seat domed stadium near Interstate 15 and the Las Vegas Strip will cost $1.9 billion, and they want to use hotel tax revenue to help pay for it.

... Sheriff’s investigators are crying foul after an illegal handoff at the Broncos practice facility.

Julie Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, tells The Denver Post a “brazen” thief carrying a bright orange cowboy hat stole a team helmet worth $400 during a crowded autograph session after practice July 31.