NEW ORLEANS - Smiling, even laughing, at questions about a report linking him to a company that purports to make performance-enhancers, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said Wednesday he "never, ever took" the stuff.
Lewis described himself as "agitated," not angry, that the story has become part of the Super Bowl-week prelude to Baltimore's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
He said he's certain his teammates won't be distracted by the report in Sports Illustrated. The magazine said Lewis sought help from a company that says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a banned product connected to human growth hormone.
Lewis, 37, is the leading tackler in the NFL postseason after returning from a torn right triceps that sidelined him for 10 games.
SI reported that company owner Mitch Ross recorded a call with Lewis hours after the player hurt his arm in an October game against Dallas. According to the report, Lewis asked Ross to send him deer-antler spray and pills, along with other items.
The magazine reported that when it spoke to Lewis for its story, he acknowledged asking Ross for "some more of the regular stuff" on the night of the injury and that he has been associated with the company "for a couple years."
Known for his frequent references to God and faith, 2001 Super Bowl MVP Lewis called the whole episode a "joke" and a "trick of the devil," adding that he told teammates: "Don't let people from the outside ever come and try to disturb what's inside."
• What: Super Bowl XLVII, Baltimore vs. San Francisco
• Where: New Orleans
• When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday
• TV: Channel 13