Ray Lewis has been the feel-good story of the NFL postseason. The soon-to-be-retired Baltimore linebacker returned from what appeared at the time to be a season-ending torn right triceps in time to help the Ravens win three playoff games and advance to the Super Bowl.
But a Sports Illustrated story released Tuesday linking Lewis to a substance banned by the NFL cast a cloud of the veteran player’s media day news conference. According the story, Lewis used deer-antler velvet extract to help speed up his recovery from the injury.
Mitch Ross, the owner of the company that allegedly provided Lewis with the substance, told SI that deer-antler extract contains IGF-1, a banned substance that would put any user in violation of the NFL’s steroids policy.
During the news conference, Lewis declined to respond to the SI story twice, both times saying it’s not worth the press. When asked directly if he had ever used deer-antler velvet extract spray, Lewis replied, “Nah, never.”
Yet the SI story describes in great detail a conversation in which Lewis talks to Ross about how to use some of the products and asks Ross to send him a supply. That includes deer-antler extract pills, four of which Lewis allegedly swallowed while talking to Ross hours after suffering the injury back in October.
True or not, it’s a very interesting, and bizarre, story.