Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: NFL PED cheaters like Rodney Harrison 'should be treated differently than guys that did it the right way'

January 05, 2016 - 5:23 am

[caption id="attachment_78998" align="alignright" width="150"]Tim HasselbeckTim Hasselbeck[/caption] ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck, making his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Tuesday, weighed in on the Peyton Manning HGH controversy and the questionable handling of the story by his network. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. ESPN has been criticized for its widespread dismissal of the Al Jazeera report suggesting a link between Manning and HGH from an Indianapolis anti-aging institute he visited while recovering from his neck injury a few years ago. "I think there's probably been some skepticism in terms of the validity of it all, especially with the [Al Jazeera] network basically saying we've never alleged that Peyton Manning took HGH," Hasselbeck said. "So that's obviously a big leap to say that, hey, this stuff is going to his house [but] we're not alleging that he took it. Like, that right there I think is a massive sticking point for many people, and understandably so, from that standpoint. So I think that's really been the reason for it." Added Hasselbeck: "I don't think that ESPN should be in the business of responding to an Al Jazeera report where they themselves are saying we are not alleging that Peyton Manning took HGH. That's the leap, guys." Hasselbeck said the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in football goes well beyond Manning. "Rodney Harrison, who you guys are going to have on your station today, Rodney Harrison admits to taking HGH for two years. For two years. So we're just going to believe him that it was just two years when the guy played for over 13 years? How long did Rodney play for, 15 years? Something like that. So, hey, guys, you busted me, I've been doing it for two years. What? Has it been eight years or has it been two years? What's it been? I guess that's part of what's happened here with this." Hasselbeck said he "never even thought about doing" performance-enhancing drugs during his own playing career despite his physical limitations, and he doesn't like that other players have gained an advantage from it. "I hate the fact that guys would cheat the system. Hate it," he said. And I think that guys that have cheated the system should absolutely be punished, they should have an asterisk next to their name, and quite honestly they should be treated differently than guys that did it the right way. So if that's the case with Peyton Manning, that's how I hope he gets treated. And that's how I hope Rodney Harrison gets treated, to be honest with you. And Robert Mathis. And everybody else who's cheated. That's how I feel about it. "You're asking me should it be looked into? Heck, yeah, it should be looked into. And they should get as much information on everybody that's done it." The big story in the NFL on Monday was the Colts' decision to retain coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson despite the team's disappointing 8-8 season. Hasselbeck said his brother, Matt, the team's backup quarterback, believes in Pagano. "I think when the rumors were going around during the season about Chuck, I think [Matt] was really surprised by the kind of criticism Chuck was getting. I think he really believes that the guy's a good coach," Hasselbeck said. "In terms of changes there -- and this isn't Matthew's opinion, this is mine -- I think if you're going to look at the two guys and try to figure maybe who's responsible for some of the team's struggles, I don't know that you're looking at Pagano. I think much more of the blame would have fallen on Grigson's lap. ... He doesn't have a real good track record in terms of the talent that he's put around Andrew Luck, who anybody would have drafted." There have been reports that Grigson and Pagano have developed a strained relationship, with Grigson apparently ordering the coach to play certain players. "I think this thing with the toxic relationship, look, I don't know about that. Obviously there's been enough reports about it that there's obviously something stemming from that," Hasselbeck said. "I guess what I would say is, and this has come out, is that Grigson has not just personnel control from who's on the roster standpoint but also it appears that he had a lot of say in terms of who actually played. ... Deciding who's in the starting lineup? I don't now many coaches that would want to work in that environment. That would be my guess in terms of what makes the relationship toxic." Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots. On reports that Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are being sought by other teams to interview for head coaching vacancies: "I think there's a likelihood that one of them gets a job. The thing that's hard to predict is how far you go in the postseason, as well as your willingness and availability to interview for these jobs as teams want to fill these positions I think becomes a little tricky. ... "I don't know that Josh or Patricia have that same situation [as Dan Quinn last year] where they're slam dunks to get jobs, because, one, Patricia I think hasn't necessarily been through this process multiple times where people really know him. And then for McDaniels, you could make the argument out of all the guys that have left New England that he blew the best opportunity for success. Many people believe he made the most mistakes out of the guys that left." On if Matt Hasselbeck, who is a free agent, will return to the Colts: "He hasn't made up his mind. In terms of being injured, he actually is pretty healthy. He's got a Grade 1 AC separation that would probably be healed by now, to be honest with you. So I think he's just trying to figure out where the opportunities are, where he can continue to play, figure out if that makes sense for his family." DraftKings DraftKings has your shot to play for FREE in the $1 Million Fantasy Football Contest THIS SUNDAY! First place takes home $100,000! FOR FREE ENTRY, CLICK HERE.