Twelve years after his first appearance in the Super Bowl was marred by questions about his legal problems in Atlanta, Ray Lewis was back on that stage Tuesday, again being asked to defend his integrity and reputation.
Just hours after a Sports Illustrated story surfaced that alleged that Lewis used a banned substance to accelerate his return from a torn triceps injury earlier this season, the Ravens linebacker emphatically denied using performance-enhancing drugs in an hour-long session with reporters at Super Bowl XLVII media day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“I’m going to say it again, that was a two-year old story that you want me to refresh. I wouldn’t give him the credit to even mention his name or his antics in my speeches or my moment,” said Lewis, who will retire following Sunday’s title game against the San Francisco 49ers. “I can’t do it so I won’t even speak about it. I’ve been in this business for 17 years and nobody has ever gotten up with me every morning and trained with me. Every test, I’ve ever took in the NFL, there’s never been a question if I ever even thought about using anything. To even entertain stupidity like that, tell him to try and get his story out with somebody else.”
“Him” is Mitch Ross, a co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS). Ross told Sports Illustrated that upon Lewis’ request, he provided the 37-year-old linebacker with products aimed at speeding up his recover from the torn triceps, an injury that occurred Oct. 14. Lewis came back in time for the Jan.6 playoff opener against the Indianapolis Colts and his return is being cited as one of the factors behind the Ravens’ Super Bowl run.
One of the products Lewis was allegedly using was a deer antler velvet spray, which the magazine reported including the substance IGF-1, which is banned by the league. Lewis denied using the spray. Ross, meanwhile, maintained in a phone interview with The Baltimore Sun that he provided a recovery protocol for Lewis following his injury in October that required surgery.
Whom do you believe?