When Ray Lewis came off the field during the Baltimore Ravens 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys on October 14, there was the thought that his season maybe over. He had torn his triceps, an injury which usually ends a players season. However, thanks to the NFL‘s new rule for injured reserve where a team can put a player on the IR and designate him for a return, the Ravens placed Lewis on the list in hopes of getting him back for the playoffs.
The decision turned out well for Lewis and the Ravens since the linebacker was indeed able to recover in time to help the Ravens on their Super Bowl run. There is news today though, that may shed light on how Lewis was able to get back onto the field so quickly, and it may tarnish Lewis’ legacy if true.
According to a Sports Illustrated article due to be published February 4, 2013, Ray Lewis used deer-antler spray which contains IGF-1, a substance that is on the NFL’s banned list. He received the spray from a company called Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, or S.W.A.T.S, for short. The report says that Lewis sprayed the deer-antler product under his tongue every two hours in order to get healthy faster. Here is what Christopher Key, a S.W.A.T.S worker said about the product.
“You’re familiar with HGH, correct?” asked Key, referring to human growth hormone. “It’s converted in the liver to IGF-1.” 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,” Key said. “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.”
I’m no doctor, nor do I understand a ton of the science that goes behind any of these products but it seems pretty obvious that if Lewis did take this supplement, he would have violated the NFL’s drug policy.
The sad part of this story is that even if Lewis is guilty, there is nothing the NFL can do about it. They likely can’t conduct a full investigation in time to suspend or fine Ray Lewis and he’ll be able to play in the Super Bowl. Then he’ll ride off into the sunset a one or two-time Super Bowl winner.
Either way, it’s a fascinating story that will continue to the questions about Ray Lewis’ character throughout his career that has come full circle. Hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of how Lewis was able to get back onto the field so fast after a difficult injury to return from. He’s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty but we’ll see how it all plays outs.
It likely won’t matter though, Lewis will be gone from the game if and when the league gets to the bottom of the story. That’s the saddest part of the story.
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