Lewis avoids talk of deer spray report

McClatchy news servicesJanuary 30, 2013 

Of all the topics Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis wanted to talk about at Super Bowl media day on Tuesday in New Orleans, deer-antler spray probably was not on the list.

He declined to directly address in any detail questions about a Sports Illustrated report that he sought help from a company that makes the unorthodox product to speed up his recovery from a torn right triceps. Lewis is the NFL’s leading tackler in the playoffs after missing 10 regular-season games with the injury.

The company, Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (SWATS), says its deer-antler substance contains a banned performance-enhancer connected to human growth hormone.

The 37-year-old Lewis, who has announced he will retire after playing against the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl, dismissed the report as “stupidity.”

Sport Illustrated reported that SWATS 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 products made by the company.

The magazine also said that when it spoke to Lewis for its story, he acknowledged asking Ross for “some more of the regular stuff” on the night of the injury and that he has been associated with the company “for a couple years through Hue Jackson.”

Jackson is a former Ravens quarterbacks coach and was later head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Two years ago, he stopped endorsing SWATS because his ties to the company violated NFL rules.

“That was a 2-year-old story that you want me to refresh … so I won’t even speak about it,” Lewis said Tuesday, “because I’ve been in this business 17 years, and nobody has ever got up with me every morning and trained with me. Every test I’ve ever took in the NFL – there’s never been a question of if I ever even thought about using anything. So to even entertain stupidity like that. … ”

HORTON DEFENDS NFL’S HIRING PRACTICE

Tacoma native Ray Horton doesn’t believe his skin color played any role in him not being hired as an NFL head coach.

It just wasn’t his time.

Introduced as Cleveland’s new defensive coordinator on Tuesday, Horton said although he’s “disappointed” that he didn’t get a head coaching job after interviewing with several teams, he’s grateful to have gone through the process and feels the league’s Rooney Rule to promote minorities works despite contrary statistics.

Minority candidates were shut out of 15 coaching and top front-office jobs this offseason, a troubling disparity that led to criticism of the NFL’s hiring practices. There are only four minority head coaches going into the 2013 season, the fewest since 2003, the year the Rooney Rule was implemented.

Horton, however, feels he wasn’t bypassed because he’s African-American or because wears his hair in tight braids.

“I believe every NFL team owner is trying to get the best coach for their team,” the former Mount Tahoma High School and University of Washington standout said.

EXTRA POINTS

Seahawks right tackle Breno Giacomini underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and is expected to take four to six weeks to recover. … The Bills will continue to play one regular-season game a year at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, extending the team’s agreement with the facility through the 2017 season. … The Rams decided not to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator, less than a week after reaching an agreement with the longtime NFL assistant coach. … Jim Anderson retired after spending 29 years as the Bengals’ running backs coach.

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