Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was asked before the Bengals-Broncos game Sunday night what Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was going through in the wake of an Al Jazeera report that links Manning to receiving human growth hormone.
Lewis, of course, was accused of using a substance banned by the NFL prior to the Ravens playing the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
Here's what Lewis had to say on ESPN:
"My situation's a little bit different because I said this was my last ride. And I've always been kind of one to pay attention to fiery darts. And so I think what people needs to understand — I understand Peyton's frustration because legacies are sweat driven.
"And I'll be durned if a liar or a coward will ever take away what me, myself, Steve Young, Peyton Manning has ever done in this game. Like, that's the only sad part about this is that you let these people in, and then they run. This guy says all of this during my Super Bowl [week] and then you never hear from them again.
"But we give them access to what greatness really is, and greatness hurts. It hurts every freaking day. And it hurts worse when somebody tries to tell you that you cheated the game. I get Peyton, man, and ... from my perspective I've never done nothing like that and that's what's embarrassing that I did it for my teammates, man, and that's what's bothering Peyton right now is that for him to be trying to get back, bro, right?
"Do everything he can. And nobody knows what that takes. Nobody knows the sacrifices you leave your family. Nobody knows what you go through."