Ray Lewis has said he never took the supplements offered by Sports With Alternatives to Steroids, but it's hard to deny he didn't know the co-owner of the controversial supplement company after Hue Jackson has apologized for introducing Lewis and other Baltimore Ravens to him.
In a phone interview with the Baltimore Sun, former Ravens assistant Jackson said he was sorry for the distraction the controversy has caused. He told the paper he met S.W.A.T.S. co-owner Mitch Ross at the 2008 scouting combine. Yahoo! Sports online magazine ThePostGame.com reported in 2011 that the NFL told Jackson, then the Raiders coach, to cut ties with the company because it produced a deer-antler extract spray that contained the banned substance IGF-1. Ross said he gave supplements to Lewis after the linebacker tore his triceps in October.
"First of all, I'm disappointed for the Ravens," Jackson told The Sun in a telephone interview Wednesday night. "You hate to ever put an organization in that kind of situation. I never knew the young man [Ross] could be that way. I apologize for the whole organization. It should be about the Super Bowl."
Lewis has denied taking supplements from S.W.A.T.S. As Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel wrote, Lewis said he "never ever took what he said," and called Ross "a coward."
Jackson, who is now on the Cincinnati Bengals' staff, told the Sun he believes Lewis is clean and has never used banned substances.
"Ray is one of the greatest football players to ever play the game," Jackson said, according to the Sun. "This kind of thing should never happen to him. He doesn't deserve it. It's not fair. This is not about talking about a relationship that he met a guy a few years back. It should be about him trying to win the most important game of all this season. Ray means the world to me. Ray has spoken his peace and I stand behind him 100 percent."
After Sports Illustrated brought the issue to light early this week, Ross has continued to stick by his story and defend his company, saying he did set Lewis up with a recovery program but Lewis didn't do anything wrong.
“It's a shame that Ray is denying taking it," Ross told the Sun. "The NFL is uneducated. This is not a steroid. It’s not illegal. Ray is not a cheater. He did it the right way. Ray is a good man. He did the work. He rehabbed his arm and did the workouts. This isn’t a shortcut. It’s just natural science.”