SI reporters witness raid (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday February 27, 2007 10:36PM; Updated: Monday March 12, 2007 5:56PM
SI.com: Were any athletes implicated Tuesday?
Llosa/Wertheim: Not yet. As we speak, authorities are sifting through client lists, computers, invoices, receipts and even trash. But similar previous raids -- part of this and similar operations -- have unearthed the names of prominent athletes.
One name that has caught the interest of investigators was that of Richard Rydze, a Pittsburgh internist who also happens to be a team physician with the Steelers for the past 21 years. Investigators allege that Rydze purchased $150,000 worth of HGH with his personal business credit card. The drugs were supplied by Signature. HGH is not only a banned drug in the NFL but the league has committed $450,000 to researching HGH testing.
We interviewed Rydze earlier this month in Pittsburgh about this matter. He confirmed making the purchases but asserted that he uses the HGH to treat elderly patients who are "deficient in growth hormone," and require tendon repair. "[It's] not for athletes, never," says Rydze. "I don't give it to people who want to come in here and look pretty and look young and build up their muscles. I will not do that."
SI.com: What is the Steelers' take on one of their team doctors being questioned by investigators for buying HGH?
Llosa/Wertheim: Team sources told us that they heard about this investigation for the first time Tuesday and "still need to gather information before we can make any comment." Greg Aiello, NFL spokesman, also told us the league had no previous knowledge and "will certainly be looking into it." Interestingly, Rydze told us that: "The Rooneys [the Steelers' owners] are aware that I do this ... I mean, they have my trust that I would never do this with an athlete."