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Thursday, January 31, 2013 - Page updated at 10:00 p.m.
Ravens' Ray Lewis calls antler-spray allegation "the trick of the devil"
By Seattle Times news services
NEW ORLEANS — Ray Lewis said that allegations about his use of a banned substance are "the trick of the devil."
According to a report by Sports Illustrated that came out this week, the Ravens linebacker used deer-antler extract to help in his recovery from a torn triceps this season. That substance contains IGF-1, which is banned by the NFL. Lewis vehemently denied the report on Tuesday, but on Wednesday he took it a step further.
"That's the trick of the devil," Lewis said. "The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy. That's what he comes to do. He comes to distract you from everything you're trying to do."
Reporters at the Super Bowl weren't the only ones asking Lewis about the report. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he asked Lewis about it.
"He kind of laughed about it and said there's nothing to it," Harbaugh said. "Ray is honest. Ray is straightforward."
Meanwhile, another professional athlete stepped forward on Wednesday for using the antler elixir. Golfer Vijay Singh issued a statement saying that the Sports Illustrated report on Lewis brought his attention to the substance he was using and believing to be all-natural.
"While I have used deer-antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy," Singh said in the statement. "In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer-antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position."
Lewis is retiring after the Super Bowl on Sunday, and the NFL likely will have no recourse to punish him if, in fact, he did use the substance. IGF-1 can only be detected through blood sampling, and the NFL does not have a program in place to test players' blood for performance-enhancing drugs.
• Steve Largent, the Seahawks' Hall of Fame receiver and former congressman, said it isn't the government's place to get involved in the issue of repeated traumatic head impacts and their possible link to longterm brain injuries for NFL players.
"If studies come out and show that playing football is detrimental to your health for the long term, even for the short term, I think that's up to the players then to make the decision about whether they're going to play or not play," Largent said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Largent, 58, played 14 seasons with the Seahawks. He now represents the nation's wireless industry as president of The Wireless Association. Largent said he had multiple concussions throughout college and his NFL career, including one during his next-to-last season in which he was knocked unconscious before hitting the ground.
Largent said he's currently participating in a study at the University of North Carolina on the concussion issue.
"The more studies that come out that talk about concussions and so forth, it makes me wonder," Largent said. "I wonder ... the impact that concussions have had on my life, particularly as I get older."
More than 3,000 former players have sued the NFL for damages resulting from head injuries.
• The San Francisco 49ers say they have addressed anti-gay remarks made by cornerback Chris Culliver during a Super Bowl media day interview. The team didn't say whether the second-year player will face disciplinary action or a fine.
During an interview Tuesday at the Superdome, Culliver responded to questions from comedian Artie Lange by saying he wouldn't welcome a gay player in the locker room. He also said the 49ers didn't have any homosexual players and, if they did, those players should leave.
The 49ers said that they "reject" Culliver's comments. On Wednesday evening, Culliver apologized in a statement: "The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel."
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