Another Ex-Vol disputes teammate's account of Peyton Manning incident

A two-decades-old incident between Peyton Manning and a female trainer at the University of Tennessee resurfaced last month, after the New York Daily News published a story about a 2003 defamation suit related to the incident.

Earlier this week, Greg Johnson, who was Manning's teammate and roommate at the University of Tennessee, told The MMQB  that he witnessed what happened in the training room between Manning and the trainer, Jamie Naughright back in 1996.

There was no record of Johnson's presence in the locker room prior to him coming forward. And now former Vols football player Kevin Horne, who has been identified in several court documents as being in the training room at the time of the incident, tells Outside the Lines that he has no memory of Johnson being there.

"I never saw him," Horne said. "I saw that story and I'm like, 'Greg Johnson?' I like Greg, but, sorry, I don't remember that."

Another training-room witness speaks out for the first time. (Getty Images)
Another training-room witness speaks out for the first time. (Getty Images)

Here's how Johnson described to The MMQB what happened in the training room 20 years ago.

“[Cross-country athlete Malcolm] Saxon walks in, and Peyton was the kind of guy who had to be friendly with everyone; he wanted to include everyone, from his teammates to the cross country guy. He says hey to Saxon and pulls down the back of his shorts, and I saw one butt cheek, and then he pulled his pants up. And Jamie said something like, ‘Aw, you're an ass.' Then I left. Thought nothing of it.”

Horne, who was identified by both Manning and Naughright in court documents as being in the training room, said he told university investigators in 1996 that he didn't know exactly what happened between Manning and Naughright because he was facing in a different direction. Horne added that Naughright didn't seem upset afterwards.

"I didn't think it was a story 20 years ago," said Horne, who had not previously spoken publicly about the incident. "I can't believe it's one now."

Meanwhile, Johnson has drawn criticism because 1) after 20 years of silence he has finally spoken out on the matter, and 2) there are no court records corroborating his presence in the training room.

"Of course. That's natural," Johnson told Outside the Lines of the skepticism. "And all I can do is say, 'Hey, I was there, this is what I saw,' and go on. And I'm not saying that what they remember is wrong or anything, I'm just telling you what I remember."

Johnson wasn't deposed in 2003, during the defamation lawsuit, because he says he was on a tour of duty during the invasion of Iraq. In those depositions both Manning and Naughright testified that Horne was in the training room but there was no mention of Johnson. In fact, the only other witness mentioned was Saxon, who never said exactly what Manning did but sent the quarterback a letter in 2002 telling him to "come clean."

Outside the Lines notes that part of Johnson's narrative of events differs with the versions of Manning, Naughright, Saxon and Horne.

"I don't want to refute that at all. But I was there, and I absolutely saw what happened," Johnson told Outside the Lines. "And if those other guys can remember who was in there and who wasn't 20 years ago, they've got better memories than I do."

But according to court documents, Horne, who wasn't facing Manning or Naughright while he received treatment on his hamstring, had a clear view of the entrance.

"I was facing the door, but I could also see the whole training room," he said.

If Johnson had entered Horne would have seen him.

Twenty years later and the most important question remains the most difficult to answer: Who is telling the truth?

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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