Ray Lewis denies report he used deer-antler extract to recover from injury

January 29, 2013

Ray Lewis drew a crowd and questions about deer-antler spray. (Charlie Riedel / AP)

When Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis tore his triceps last fall and worked his way back onto the field with a remarkably quick recovery, he was given a product that contains a substance banned by the NFL, Sports Illustrated reports.

Lewis, asked about the report during media day, denied using the substance and pointed out that he has never tested positive for banned substances.

Mitch Ross, a co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids said he spoke with Lewis after he was injured Oct. 14 and that Lewis requested products that could speed his recovery time. Among the treatments was deer-antler spray, which contains IGF-1, which is on the list of substances banned by the league.

“Two years ago, it was the same report,” Lewis told reporters. “I wouldn’t give that report or [the reporter] any of my press. He’s not worthy of that. Next question.”

Two years ago, an SI story on SWATS reported that Hue Jackson, then coach of the Oakland Raiders, was told to cut his ties with the company. Ross indicated that he gave Jackson free products that were distributed to players, including Lewis.

“Ray has been randomly tested for banned substances and has never failed a test,” Kevin Byrne, the Ravens’ vice-president of communications, told ESPN. We have never been notified of a failed test. He has never been notified of a failed test.”

Lewis and the team met Tuesday morning to discuss the report ahead of media day.
“He denied using the substance discussed in the article, and we believe him,” Byrne told ESPN.

Ross, in an interview on the “Scott Van Pelt” show on ESPN, said Lewis “used every product that I had” and that he developed an armband “to strengthen his triceps and some liquid wraps that would help him heal as well.”.

Christopher Key, Ross’s partner in SWAT, said that “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.”

At media day, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he and Lewis had not spoken about the report. “Ray has worked incredibly hard to get back. I would hate to see anything diminish that,” he said. “My understanding is that he’s passed every random substance test that he’s taken throughout his career.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | January 29, 2013