Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
Aj Mast, Nyt - Nyt
Lewis checks emotions while repeating denials
- Article by: HOWARD FENDRICH
- Associated Press
- January 30, 2013 - 9:47 PM
NEW ORLEANS - Ray Lewis is "agitated."
Not because the Baltimore Ravens linebacker thinks the magazine report linking him to a company that purports to make performance-enhancers will affect his play or that of his teammates against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Rather, Lewis did not want to spend time discussing the subject in private with his head coach or in public with the media, as he did Wednesday, when his forceful denials -- and attacks on the owner of the supplement company -- meant the matter intruded for a second consecutive day on his retirement send-off.
"It's so funny of a story, because I never, ever took what he says or whatever I was supposed to do. And it's just sad, once again, that someone can have this much attention on a stage this big, where the dreams are really real," Lewis said.
"I don't need it. My teammates don't need it. The 49ers don't need it. Nobody needs it."
He smiled widely when the first question at his media session was about the topic -- surely, he figured it was coming -- then chuckled later while addressing it. Lewis called the whole episode a "joke" and a "trick of the devil," adding that he told teammates: "Don't let people from the outside ever come and try to disturb what's inside."
Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that Lewis sought help from a company called Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (SWATS), which says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a naturally occurring banned product connected to human growth hormone. The 37-year-old Lewis, the MVP of the 2001 Super Bowl, is the leading tackler in the NFL postseason after returning from a torn right triceps that sidelined him for 10 games.
SI reported that company owner Mitch Ross recorded a call with Lewis hours after the player hurt his arm in an October game against Dallas. According to the report, Lewis asked Ross to send him deer-antler spray and pills, along with other items made by the company.
On Wednesday, Lewis called Ross a coward and said he "has no credibility."
Ross declined an interview request from the AP but e-mailed a statement reading: "It is the view of SWATS and Mitch Ross that the timing of information was unfortunate and misleading and was in no way intended to harm any athlete. We have always been about aiding athletes to heal faster and participate at an optimum level of play in a lawful and healthy manner."
Told by a reporter that he seemed angry, Lewis said: "You can use the word 'agitated,' because I'm here to win the Super Bowl. I'm not here to entertain somebody that does not affect that one way or another."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed that but did not respond to other requests for comment about SWATS or Lewis' involvement.
Teammates uniformly pushed the same message as Lewis and Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "Everybody heard about it, but we're not worried about it," running back Bernard Pierce said.
© 2013 Star Tribune