Of all of the topics Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis wanted to talk about at Super Bowl media day, deer-antler spray likely wasn’t on the list.
He declined to directly address in any detail questions on a report that he sought help from a corporation that makes the unorthodox product to speed his recovery from a torn right triceps. Lewis was the NFL’s leading tackler in the playoffs after missing 10 regular-season games with the injury.
The company, Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (SWATS), asserts its deer-antler substance contains a banned performance-enhancer hooked up to growth hormone.
The 37-year-old Lewis, who has made public he will retire after playing against the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl, dismissed the report as ‘’stupidity.”
The magazine claimed that SWATS owner Mitch Ross recorded a call with Lewis hours after the player hurt his arm in an October game against the Cowboys. According to the report, Lewis asked Ross to send him deer-antler spray and pills, along with other products manufactured by the company.
The magazine also said that when it spoke to Lewis for its story, he recognized asking Ross for ‘’some more of the regular stuff” on the night of the injury and he has been linked with the company ”for a couple years through Hue Jackson.”
Jackson is a former Ravens quarterbacks coach – and later head coach of the Raiders. Two years ago he stopped endorsing SWATS because his ties to the company violated NFL rules.
”That was a 2-year-old story that you want me to refresh … So I won’t even talk about it,” Lewis expounded, ”because I’ve been in this business 17 years, and no-one has ever got up with me each morning and trained with me. Every test I have ever took in the NFL – there’s never been a matter of if I ever even thought about using anything, so to even entertain stupidity like that….”
The NFL did not immediately make a response to a request for comment, and NFL Players Association speaker George Atallah declined comment. Basketball odds
”The team knew about this report. Ray rejects taking anything and has always passed tests,” Ravens speaker Kevin Byrne expounded.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he found out about the story during the team’s bus ride to the Superdome for media day.
”I have not talked with Ray about that personally,” Harbaugh related. ”What I do know about that’s Ray has worked incredibly and extremely hard to get back, so I really hate to see anything diminish the work ethic that he’s put in to get to where he is right now. And my understanding is Ray has passed every random, you know, substance test that he’s taken across the course of his entire career, so there has never been a test that’s shown up anything along those lines.” At the end, the topic only added to what already was a week filled with plot lines attached to Lewis.
And there is his recovery from what was originally considered to be a season-ending injury.