Updated on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. CT.
(CBS) Somewhat buried in a bizarre Sports Illustrated cover story about questionable performance enhancing products is the suggestion that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis may have used a deer-antler spray this season that contains a banned substance.
The story details an Alabama company called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.), which peddles two deer-antler products that contain IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor, which is banned by every major pro league and the NCAA.
Sports Illustrated has a transcript of a phone conversation between Lewis and Mitch Ross, the founder of S.W.A.T.S., in which Ross gives the All-Pro linebacker instructions on how to use the spray version of the deer-antler product (it also comes in pill-form).
“Spray on my elbow every two hours?” Lewis asked.
“No,” Ross said, “under your tongue.”
Lewis later tells Ross to “just pile me up and just send me everything you got, because I got to get back on this this week.”
Lewis returned from the injury much faster than originally expected, making it back in time for the playoffs. When he returned, Sports Illustrated asked him about his relationship with S.W.A.T.S., but Lewis would only admit to using a sticker product that is not banned by the NFL. When asked about the deer-antler spray and pills, he walked away without comment.
Tuesday, at Super Bowl Media Day, Lewis was once again questioned about the banned substance, to which he responded: “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. Next question.”
It’s unclear who the “him” is that Lewis was talking about, but the problem with the linebacker’s response is that the phone conversation in question occurred in recent months, not two years ago.
Lewis is not the only person in question in the Sports Illustrated report. Current Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson and golfer Vijay Singh are also described as S.W.A.T.S. clients, with Singh quoted in the story saying he uses the spray “every couple of hours . . . every day.”
IGF-1 is also banned by the PGA.
It’s a little unclear if this story will impact Lewis this week as the Ravens get set to play the 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl. He doesn’t admit to using the product and the phone conversations don’t prove that he actually ingested the spray or the pills.