Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis found himself in a Super Bowl week controversy on Tuesday after he was asked about possibly taking a banned substance to help his remarkable recovery from a torn triceps earlier this season.
Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (S.W.A.T.S) a company that was spotlighted by Yahoo! Sports online magazine ThePostGame.com in 2011 for providing a product that has a substance banned by the NFL, may have provided Lewis with deer-antler velvet extract spray after his triceps injury this year. That spray includes IGF-1, which is banned by the NFL.
Sports Illustrated wrote that Lewis had gone to S.W.A.T.S., which uses unconventional supplements to treat players and boost their performance, after his triceps injury in October and had perhaps used the deer-antler spray. ESPN.com reported that Lewis told the team he did not use the substance.
The SI story says S.W.A.T.S. owner Mitch Ross provided the products, but wanted Lewis to give S.W.A.T.S. credit when he returned. That didn't happen when someone asked Lewis about the report a few questions into his media-day availability.
"Two years ago that was the same report, I wouldn't give that report or him any of my press," Lewis said during his news conference, which was broadcast on the NFL Network. "He's not worthy of that. Next question."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked about it as well.
"My understanding is Ray has passed every random substance test that he's taken throughout the course of his whole career," Harbaugh said. "So there's never been a test that has shown up anything along those lines."
Lewis also brought up the lack of a positive test.
"Every test I've ever took in the NFL, there's never been a question if I've ever even thought of using anything," Lewis said at media day, in a clip shown by ESPN. "So to even entertain stupidity like that, tell him to try to get his story off somebody else."
In the SI story, Lewis was asked about his involvement with S.W.A.T.S.
"Nobody helped me out with the rehab," Lewis told the magazine. "I've been doing S.W.A.T.S. for a couple years through Hue Jackson, that's it. That's my only connection to them."
ThePostGame.com reported two years ago that the NFL told Jackson, who was then coach of the Oakland Raiders, to sever ties with the company because it marketed products that contained the banned IGF-1.
The SI story said Ross videotaped a phone call with Lewis just after he tore his triceps on Oct. 14. Here is a passage from SI's story regarding that phone call:
Ross prescribed a deluxe program, including holographic stickers on the right elbow; copious quantities of the powder additive; sleeping in front of a beam-ray light programmed with frequencies for tissue regeneration and pain relief; drinking negatively charged water; a 10-per-day regimen of the deer-antler pills that will "rebuild your brain via your small intestines" (and which Lewis said he hadn't been taking, then swallowed four during the conversation); and spritzes of deer-antler velvet extract (the Ultimate Spray) every two hours.
"Spray on my elbow every two hours?" Lewis asked.
"No," Ross said, "under your tongue."
Toward the end of the talk, Lewis asked Ross to "just pile me up and just send me everything you got, because I got to get back on this this week."
That's not the only controversy Lewis was asked about at media day. He was also asked about the January 2000 stabbings in Atlanta that left two people dead, in which he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice and has been a popular topic again with his return to the Super Bowl.
"I truly believe, if you take a 13-year break on anything, as hard as it is for them, as hard as it is about the things for you want me to speak about or you want to report about, I just don't believe, honestly, that this is not the appropriate time for that," Lewis said. "Because the sympathy I have for that family or what me and my family have endured because of all of that, nobody here is really qualified to ask those questions.
"I feel that this is God's time and whatever His time is, let it be His will. Don't try to please everybody with your words or try to make everybody's story sound right. At this time I would rather direct my questions in other places. I live with that every day. You maybe can take a break from it. I don't. I live with it every day of my life, and I'd rather not speak of that today."
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