NEW ORLEANS - Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis went into attack mode Wednesday morning, calling the owner of an alternative medicine clinic a "coward" for telling Sports Illustrated that Lewis tried to obtain a banned substance to help speed Lewis' recovery from a torn triceps.
The magazine published a story on its website Tuesday in which Mitch Ross, the owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, said Lewis tried to get deer-antler velvet extract, which comes in a spray that contains IGF-1, which is considered a banned substance by the NFL.
Lewis called the report, and Ross, "foolish," and said he "never, ever took" the extract.
"It's a joke if you know me," Lewis said Wednesday at a news conference at the Ravens' team hotel. "I tell (teammates) all the time: 'Don't let people from the outside ever try to disturb what's inside.' That's the trick of the devil. 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."
Lewis was asked multiple questions about the Sports Illustrated report. In addition to his denial of using the spray, Lewis went after Ross. The retiring superstar said he wasn't angry but admitted the allegations made him "agitated."
"It really just shows you how people really plan things and try to attack people now. It's foolish, very foolish, and the guy has no credibility," Lewis said. "He's been sued four or five times over this same b.s. Just to entertain that, I can't. I won't. I just truly believe he doesn't have the privilege for me to speak about it again."
That is highly unlikely.
Lewis is scheduled to hold another news conference - his fourth of the week - Thursday morning.
Still, Lewis insisted the story and allegations are not a distraction. He has not formally addressed the report with teammates, nor do they believe he needs to.
"It's petty gossip for the simple fact that we saw how hard he worked. He did it at the facility and at no time was he injected with anything," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "The man just stayed working out. He just stayed at it. We're not even going to waste our time with it. We just thought it was hilarious that they have another reason why we're on this run, but that's alright."
Other Ravens, including coach John Harbaugh and safety Ed Reed, agree with Lewis that Ross was looking to make the allegations against Lewis when he was on the biggest public stage.
"It could help him boost whatever he does. If we weren't in the Super Bowl, the guy probably wouldn't even say anything," Reed said "The Super Bowl? Come on, everybody in the world media-wise is here. So if I have some information on Ray Lewis, I'm going to say it."