Ray Lewis, Ravens deny deer antler spray report
NEW ORLEANS — A visibly agitated Ray Lewis refused to address during Tuesday’s Super Bowl XLVII Media Day a Sports Illustrated report that Lewis, while recovering from a torn triceps earlier this season, inquired about a product that includes a substance banned by the NFL.
In the article in the Jan. 31 issue of Sports Illustrated, David Epstein and George Dohrmann relayed a phone call Lewis allegedly had with Mitch Ross, owner of S.W.A.T.S. (Sports with Alternatives to Steroids). That conversation included discussion of deer antler velvet spray, which contains IGF-1 — a prohibited substance in the NFL that SWATS’ Christopher Key compared to human growth hormone (HGH).
Lewis emphatically brushed aside the topic Tuesday.
“Two years ago, that was the same report,” Lewis said. “I wouldn’t give that report or (the reporters) any of my press.”
Kevin Byrne, the Ravens’ vice president of communications, told ESPN that the team was standing behind Lewis.
“He denied using the substance discussed in the article, and we believe him,” Bryne said. “Ray has been randomly tested for banned substances and has never failed a test. We have never been notified of a failed test. He has never been notified of a failed test.”
Ross, however, insisted on ESPN Radio’s “SVP and Russillo” show that Lewis “used every product that I have.”
“Ray did what he had to do to get back on the field, that’s what he said,” Ross told Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo. “I’m not telling you he didn’t use anything. He got on a protocol, he absolutely certainly did. … It was set up by me how to do it, and I even developed an armband for him to use at Day 7 to strengthen his triceps better.
“It sounds like he’s disputing it, I guess because he’s scared of Roger Goodell. Ray’s not the only athlete taking in the SWATS protocol.”
Ross mentioned Brett Favre, Carnell Williams, Heath Evans, golfer Mark Calcavecchia and baseball player Carlos Pena as others who have received help from S.W.A.T.S.’ products.
Ross also reiterated his comments from the Sports Illustrated article concerning a conversation he had with Lewis during the middle of the 2012 season. According to Ross, he texted Lewis mere hours after Lewis injured his arm against the Cowboys on Oct. 14.
“He called me after he got off the field and we got a plan together,” Ross recalled to Van Pelt and Russillo, “and we got him on the road to getting back on the field in 50 days.”
Lewis’ hour-long Media Day press conference took another contentious turn when he was asked about the 2000 incident in which Lewis was charged with obstruction of justice after the stabbing deaths of two men in Atlanta. Lewis told reporters: “Nobody here is really qualified to ask those questions … At this time, I would rather direct my questions in other places.”
He played a similar card during the brief moments the discussion turned to deer antler spray and Sports Illustrated‘s report.
“I’ve been in this business 17 years and nobody has ever got up with me every morning and trained with me,” Lewis said. “Every test I’ve ever took in the NFL, there’s never been a question if I’ve ever even thought about using anything, so to even entertain stupidity like that … tell (them) to go try to get (their) story off somebody else.”