NEW ORLEANS — Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis laughed off a report that linked him to a company that claims to make substances containing performance-enhancing drugs.
During a question-and-answer session at the Ravens’ hotel Wednesday morning, Lewis smiled and laughed at questions about the report in Sports Illustrated, saying he “never, ever took” the stuff.
The magazine said Lewis, 37, sought help from a company that says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a banned product connected to human growth hormone as he worked his way back from a torn right triceps that sidelined him for 10 games.
SI reported that the owner of a company called Sports With Alternatives To Steroids, Mitch Ross, recorded a call with Lewis hours after he injured the 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 made by the company.
“It’s so funny of a story because I never, ever took what he says or whatever I was supposed to do,” Lewis said. “And it’s just sad once again that someone can have this much attention on a stage this big, where the dreams are really real. I don’t need it. My teammates don’t need it. The 49ers don’t need it. Nobody needs it.”
Lewis will play the final game in an almost-certain Hall of Fame career when the Ravens and San Francisco meet in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
SI 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.” But Lewis didn’t acknowledge that Wednesday.
“I believe Ray. I trust Ray completely,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We have a relationship. I know this man, and I know what he’s all about. It’s just too bad it has to be something that gets so much play.”
Two key starters nursing injuries, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and tight end Dennis Pitta, ran and practiced well Wednesday at Tulane as the Ravens opened on-field preparations for Sunday’s game, according to the NFL pool report.
It’s unlikely either will miss the Super Bowl. Pitta has a thigh injury but moved freely during the workout. Ellerbe, who starts next to Lewis in the Ravens’ 3-4 alignment, ran without a limp.
The Ravens practiced for one hour, 55 minutes on a makeshift 80-yard field stretching across the Field Turf outfield, from foul pole to foul pole, at the Greer Field baseball diamond. Baltimore’s passing game dealt with wind gusts up to 24 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Baltimore had the option of working out at the Saints’ indoor facility late in the afternoon or early Wednesday evening — after the 49ers finished their work — which would have negated the impact of the wind. But Harbaugh said he and the players preferred to practice on schedule in mid-afternoon.
“We had a great practice,’’ Harbaugh said. “We didn’t like the wind, but we got all of our work done. Spirits are high.”
Baltimore rookie kicker Justin Tucker said he has visualized kicking the winning field goal in the Super Bowl, much as the New England Patriots’ Adam Vinatieri did on the final play 11 years ago in the most recent Super Bowl played in the Superdome.
“You almost get goose bumps thinking about it now,” Tucker said. “I always end my warm-up routine on gamedays with a 48-yarder from the right hash. That’s the kick Vinatieri made in the Superdome in 2001. This place right here is where he cemented himself as a Hall of Fame-caliber kicker, which is really a hard thing to do.”
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