Lewis has denied using it, a team official told ESPN.The in-depth SI piece by David Epstein and George Dohrmann says Lewis received an array of treatments from a sports science company that included deer-antler velvet spray. The spray contains IGF-1, which is banned by the NFL
SI cites a recorded phone conversation between Lewis and Mitch Ross, owner of a two-man company called S.W.A.T.S. (Sports with Alternatives to Steroids).
Here is an excerpt:
"Hours after he tore his triceps during an Oct. 14 home game against the Cowboys, Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis and Ross connected on the phone. Again, Ross videotaped the call.
"It's bottom, near the elbow," Lewis said of the tear. After asking a few pseudo diagnostic questions, Ross concluded, "All right, well, this is going to be simple. ... How many pain chips you got around the house?"
"I got plenty of them," Lewis replied.
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."
Lewis initially told SI he did not work personally with SWATS on his rehab. The article continues:
"When pressed, Lewis said, "Nobody helped me out with the rehab. I've been doing S.W.A.T.S. for a couple years through Hue Jackson, that's it. That's my only connection to them."
Asked if he had talked to Ross the night of his injury, Lewis replied, "I told him to send me some more of the regular stuff, the S.W.A.T.S., the stickers or whatever."
And did they help?
"I think a lot of things helped me."
So would he suggest S.W.A.T.S. to other players?
"If I did, I would've done said it by now," Lewis said. Asked specifically about the spray and the pills, Lewis walked away without comment.
Lewis missed the remainder of the regular season after tearing his triceps but returned for the playoffs. He has 44 tackles in three postseason games.
Two years ago, the NFL ordered then-Raiders coach Hue Jackson to end his relationsip with S.W.A.T.S.
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