Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens’ inspirational leader, was given a product to help heal his torn triceps that contains a banned substance, according to a Sports Illustrated report. Lewis has not tested positive and denies using the substance, a team official told ESPN.
Mitch Ross, a co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS), told Sports Illustrated that he spoke to Lewis shortly after the linebacker tore his triceps on Oct. 14 and he requested products that could help speed up his recovery. Deer-antler spray was among the prescribed treatments. Deer-antler spray contains a substance (IGF-1) on the NFL’s banned list.
SWATS is the subject of an in-depth profile in Sports Illustrated’s next issue, on newsstands Feb.4. A version of the story was also posted on SI.com.
Lewis dismissed the report Tuesday when he was asked about it at Super Bowl media day in New Orleans.
“Two years ago, it was the same report. I wouldn’t give that report or him any of my press. He’s not worthy of that. Next question,” Lewis said.
He also said he doesn’t want to give the company any publicity and questioned why he should respond to such “stupidity.”
“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,” Kevin Byrne, vice president of communications for the Ravens, told ESPN.
The Ravens had a meeting with Lewis on Tuesday morning to discuss the article.
“He denied using the substance discussed in the article and we believe him,” Byrne told ESPN.
Sports Illustrated reported in its story a pitch made by Christopher Key, the other half of the two-man company, to Alabama players in the week before they played LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.
He is quoted as explaining the benefits of the spray to the players.
“You’re familiar with HGH, correct? It’s converted in the liver to IGF-1,” Key explained, according to the Sports Illustrated report. “IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor, is a natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth. We have deer that we harvest out of New Zealand. Their antlers are the fastest-growing substance on planet Earth … because of the high concentration of IGF-1.
“We’ve been able to freeze-dry that out, extract it, put it in a sublingual spray that you shake for 20 seconds and then spray three [times] under your tongue. … This stuff has been around for almost 1,000 years, this is stuff from the Chinese,” Key said, the magazine reported.