For years Ray Lewis has been labeled as the inspirational tale of redemption and a team leader for the Ravens, but never in his 17-year career has he been called a cheater as he was during Super Bowl media day on Tuesday.
Sports Illustrated is reporting Lewis attempted to obtain deer-antler velvet extract, which contains the NFL banned substance IGF-1, in order to recover from a torn triceps injury that kept him out more than half the season.
According to the report, Mitch Ross – a former stripper turned-owner of Sports With Alternative to Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.) – claims Lewis contacted him in October for the recovery aid.
Phil Simms, who will be broadcasting the Super Bowl for CBS, told 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar and Dukes Tuesday, he hadn’t yet heard of the accusations, but sadly wouldn’t be surprised if they were true.
“People are willing to do anything when there’s money on the table,” Simms said.
“Lavar, you played in the NFL,” Simms added. “I go to practice every week and I just see a guy and go, ‘Oh boy.’ I’ve trained my whole life. I know when you get a hamstring that pops out of the back of your pants. I don’t care who you are. They can’t get that way. God doesn’t bless anybody that much.”
While Simms wasn’t speaking of Lewis specifically, he was providing a commentary on the prevalence of cheating in mainstream sports in general, and made no exception for football.
“It’s such an unbelievable payoff that I guess a lot of these guys go ‘I don’t care,’” Simms said. “You know you might get caught and probably will, but the other side of it, the money and the fame is extraordinary.”
Simms said the news of Lewis’ alleged cheating doesn’t surprise him one bit, but that’s certainly no shot at the linebacker’s credibility.
“I guess Cris Collinsworth said it last week. He just goes, ‘Something’s going to happen Super Bowl week that’s going to get the attention; catch people by surprise.’ There it is. That’s the story.”
He concluded by saying there will always be competitors looking to gain an edge, and that group of cheaters will always remain just a little bit ahead.