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NFL roundup: Lewis, John Harbaugh reject deer-antler allegations

The SportsXchange

Deer antlers continue to cast a large shadow at the Super Bowl.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh doesn't believe the report that linebacker Ray Lewis used a deer-antler spray containing the banned substance IGF-1 to aid in his recovery from a torn triceps during the regular season.

"He kind of laughed about it and told me there's nothing to it," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh is taking Lewis at his word after a brief discussion about the accusation, and both men will put the issue to rest before it has a chance to balloon into a bigger distraction.

"The thing about Ray is he is one of the most focused -- he's been through so much," Harbaugh said. "Ray, he's a focused individual. He understands what's important and he understands what's important is our football team heading into Sunday. And he also knows there's nothing to it."

Lewis said Wednesday the claims are fiction.

"I've said it before, I've said a million times, the reason why I am smiling is because it is so funny of a story, because I never, ever took what he says I -- whatever I was supposed to do," Lewis said.

--San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York is hoping to keep backup quarterback Alex Smith next season despite Smith's expressed desire to move on to a team where he has a shot at being a starter.

Second-year pro Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith as the 49ers starter in November and will lead the team into the Super Bowl on Sunday against Baltimore.

"From a cap standpoint, we have the room to be able to keep (Smith)," York told ProFootballTalk.com. "One quarterback is usually not enough to get you through a season."

Smith is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 12, and his contract includes $8.5 million guaranteed in 2013.

"I haven't talked to them," Smith said of how he'll handle the end-game with management. "I'm sure when we get back there will be plenty of time to sit down with Jim (Harbaugh, the head coach) and Trent (Baalke, the GM) and see what's what.

--The NFL announced Wednesday that referee Jerome Boger will lead the seven-man crew of game officials selected to work Super Bowl XLVII.

The other members of the Super Bowl XLVII officiating crew are Darrell Jenkins (umpire), Steve Stelljes (head linesman), Byron Boston (line judge), Craig Wrolstad (field judge), Joe Larrew (side judge) and Dino Paganelli (back judge). The Super Bowl XLVII officiating crew collectively has 77 years of NFL officiating experience and 50 combined playoff game assignments.

Boger, in his ninth season as an NFL game official, entered the league in 2004 as a line judge and was promoted to referee in 2006. He has officiated four divisional playoff games.

--Rob Ryan decided to pull out of the St. Louis Rams' search for a defensive coordinator after it appeared he would accept the job because he was uncomfortable working with a 4-3 scheme and assistants he didn't hire, according to a report.

Ryan visited the Rams last weekend and there were indications that the Rams would announce this week that he would be joining the coaching staff.

The Rams announced Tuesday that the search was on again.

With Ryan out of the picture, the Rams might be looking at former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, the Post-Dispatch reported.

--The Dallas Cowboys hired Rich Bisaccia, a veteran NFL and college assistant, as their special teams coach.

Bisaccia will be reunited with Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. The two were on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff from 2002 to 2008. Bisaccia was a member of Norv Turner's San Diego Chargers staff for the past two years.

--Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill faces felony charges stemming from an alleged incident with his girlfriend that resulted in his arrest.

Issaquah (Wash.) Police said in a release Wednesday morning that Hill was arrested on investigation of unlawful imprisonment-domestic violence and third-degree assault-domestic violence. According to records, Hill was awaiting booking into the King County Jail.

Hill started 12 games for the Seahawks this season and had 47 tackles. The eight-year pro is to become a free agent during the offseason.

--Former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is still trying to cope with the tragedy of witnessing linebacker Jovan Belcher shoot himself on Dec. 1 in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium after killing his girlfriend.

"The truth is I haven't made sense of it. I don't know if any one of us that were there will ever make sense of it," Piolo said on "The Dan Patrick Show."

Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins, 22, nine times at their home in front of her mother and the couple's daughter and then drove to the stadium, where he committed suicide in front of Pioli and then-coach Romeo Crennel.

Pioli has since parted ways with the Chiefs. Crennel was fired by the Chiefs after a tumultuous 2012 season.

--San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver opposed team policy when he made anti-gay remarks during a Tuesday interview.

Speaking with comedian Artie Lang on Super Bowl Media Day, Culliver said when asked about homosexuals in the NFL, "I don't do the gay guys, man. I don't do that. ... No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff."

The team issued a statement Wednesday that read, "The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris. There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community."

--Baltimore Ravens practice-squad quarterback Dennis Dixon could land a job with the Philadelphia Eagles as soon as next week, Comcast SportsNet Philly reported. The Eagles' new head coach is Chip Kelly, who was Dixon's coach at Oregon.
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