Update: Lewis was asked about the report during Super Bowl media day on Tuesday afternoon, and he denied ever using PEDs. The Ravens say Lewis never tested positive for any substance.
It's been a banner day for banned substances in sports!
First off, there's our sister paper's report on a Miami clinic that supplied major league ballplayers, including Alex Rodriguez, with performance-enhancing drugs.
And now there's a Sports Illustrated report saying that former University of Miami and current Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' recovery from a midseason torn triceps was not, in fact, a miracle of Jesus but more the work of some kind of substance made from deer antler. Well, Jesus made deer, so we guess it makes sense.
Oh wait, it gets weirder.
According to the report, soon after his injury in October, Lewis apparently got in touch with a company called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids that sells some kind of deer-antler velvet extract in the form of a spray. The company also happens to be owned by a former male stripper.
An employee of the company, Mitch Ross, videotaped a phone conversation with Lewis, according to the report.
The two allegedly discussed Lewis' deer-antler treatment so the linebacker could get back on the field as soon as possible.
Ross prescribed a deluxe program, including holographic stickers on the right elbow; copious quantities of the powder additive; sleeping in front of a beam-ray light programmed with frequencies for tissue regeneration and pain relief; drinking negatively charged water; a 10-per-day regimen of the deer-antler pills that will "rebuild your brain via your small intestines" (and which Lewis said he hadn't been taking, then swallowed four during the conversation); and spritzes of deer-antler velvet extract (the Ultimate Spray) every two hours.
"Spray on my elbow every two hours?" Lewis asked.
"No," Ross said, "under your tongue."
Toward the end of the talk, Lewis asked Ross to "just pile me up and just send me everything you got, because I got to get back on this this week."
An NFL player is free to spray anything he wants from an animal onto his body. This is America, dammit. As long as it doesn't contain a banned substance.
Unfortunately for Lewis, the deer-antler extract contains IGF-1 -- which is banned by the league.
Of course, with the big game on Sunday, it's almost impossible for the NFL to do anything about punishing Lewis. Win or lose, he's set to retire after the game -- which is why he's been in your face all over the news this week. Well, that and all his Bible quoting and murder trial stuff.
Unless Lewis comes clean before kickoff, this will just be yet another storyline added to all the other storylines heading into the game.