Mitch Ross: 'Ray Lewis isn't a cheater'

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NEW ORLEANS -- — Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis denied today that he used banned substances to accelerate his return from his torn triceps injury earlier this season.

"I'm going to say it again, that was a two-year old story that you want me to refresh. I wouldn't give him the credit to even mention his name or his antics in my speeches or my moment," Lewis said today at Super Bowl media day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. "I can't do it so I won't even speak about it."


"Him" is Mitch Ross, a co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS). Ross told The Baltimore Sun that he supplied a recovery protocol that included use of deer antler velvet spray for the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year after he tore his right triceps.

"I was introduced to Ray Lewis by [former Ravens quarterbacks coach] Hue Jackson, and I began working with him that year after I was originally supposed to work with Steve McNair," Ross said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "As soon as I saw him hurt his arm against the Dallas Cowboys, I texted Ray. He texted me back after the game and said, 'Possible torn triceps.' Once that was confirmed by the doctors, I asked Ray if he wanted me to set up a program for him and he said, 'Yes.' I got him set up and now he's back on the field.


"It's a shame that Ray is denying taking it. The NFL is uneducated. This is not a steroid. It's not illegal. Ray is not a cheater. He did it the right way. Ray is a good man. He did the work. He rehabbed his arm and did the workouts. This isn't a shortcut. It's just natural science. Ray and I worked on this together to get his arm right."

Ross emphasized that the deer antler velvet spray that contains IGF-1 is akin to human growth hormone, but is naturally produced in food products.

"Ray worked his butt off to get back out there," Ross said. "I helped Ray get back on the field, but he worked so hard to do that. I made an armband for him to use after a week to strengthen the triceps after he got the stitches out. He shouldn't have to deny anything. It makes no sense to me."

Ross added that he also assisted Lewis when he injured his toe and was sidelined for four games last season.

"I've been helping Ray and supplying him with supplements for years, and I never took a dime and I don't want any money now," Ross said. "I didn't do anything wrong and Ray didn't do anything wrong."

Ross said he never gave an invoice to Lewis, giving him supplement products in exchange for an endorsement. He said he had a similar arrangement with former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, Jackson, who's now an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, and several other players, including Brett Favre, Heath Evans and Carnell Williams.

Reacting to the Sports Illustrated report published Tuesday, Lewis replied at Super Bowl Media Day: "Two years ago, that was the same report. I wouldn't give that report or him any of my press. He's not worthy of that."

Lewis later added: "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 if I've ever even thought about using anything, so to even entertain stupidity like that, tell [them] to go try to get [their] story off somebody else."


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As for the timing of the report, Ross said he didn't know the article would come out during the Super Bowl.

"I'm not happy about that," Ross said. "It's all being portrayed the wrong way. I'm a Christian, I do things the right way."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh also issued a denial, saying: "Ray has passed every substance test in his career."