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Hue Jackson apologizes for leading Lewis to SWATS co-owner

The SportsXchange

Not that it will make the Super Bowl week controversy go away, but the man who introduced Ray Lewis to a deer-antler-extract salesman apologized Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Hue Jackson, formerly the Ravens' quarterback coach, said he's the one who led Baltimore's star linebacker to Mitch Ross, co-owner of Sports With Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS). According to a Sports Illustrated report this week, SWATS provided Lewis with a supplement that includes banned performance-enhancing substances as Lewis attempted to return from a triceps injury this season.

Lewis has denied using SWATS' products.

"First of all, I'm disappointed for the Ravens," Jackson told the Sun. "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. I met the guy at the (NFL) combine in 2008.

"What happened is you think everybody is doing things for the right reason. I knew there was nothing illegal based on information given by him. He always talked about things, saying they were already approved by the NFL. You live and you learn. I dealt with that two years ago. Anytime it comes up, my name is mentioned."

Ross told the Sun that he met Lewis through Jackson, adding that he helped Lewis recover from a hamstring injury in 2009 and a toe injury in 2011.

"It's a shame that Ray is denying taking it," Ross told the newspaper. "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."

Jackson served on the Ravens' coaching staff in 2008-09. He spent the next season as the Raiders' offensive coordinator before becoming Oakland's head coach in 2011.

Fired after an 8-8 season as the boss in Oakland, Jackson served as the secondary coach for the Bengals in 2012. He is expected to be Cincinnati's running backs coach in 2013.
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