NEW ORLEANS - Ray Lewis probably knew his one-line brush-off Tuesday wouldn’t close the door on buzz about the Sports Illustrated report alleging he might’ve used a deer antler extract containing a banned substance.
The Ravens linebacker provided a more extensive answer at Wednesday morning’s availability, attempting to discredit Mitch Ross and S.W.A.T.S., which produces the extract.
“I’m going to say it very clearly again. I think it’s probably one of the most embarrassing things that we can do on this high a stage,” Lewis said. “I think it takes totally away from - you give somebody the ability to come into our world. Our world is a very secret society and we try to protect our world as much as we can.
“But when you let cowards come in and things like that to try and disturb something - I’ve said it before, I’ve said it a million times - and he’s going out smiling because it’s so funny and absurd, but I never ever took what he said or whatever I was supposed to do. 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. They’re really real.
“And I don’t need it, my teammates don’t need it, the 49ers don’t need it. Nobody needs it, but this just really shows you how people are really playing things to try to attack people from the outside. It’s just foolish. It’s very foolish and the guy has no credibility. He’s been sued four or five times over the same B.S. and it’s just entertainment. I can’t, I won’t and I just truly believe that he doesn’t have the privilege for me to speak about it ever again.”
A reporter then spoke up, saying that Lewis seems angry about the report.
“Me? I’m never angry. I’m too blessed to be stressed,” Lewis said. “I’m not angry. You can use a different word. You could use the word ‘agitated’ because I’m here to win the Super Bowl. I’m not here to entertain somebody that does not affect that one way or another.”
Coach John Harbaugh and a few of Lewis’ teammates addressed whether this might become a distraction leading up to Sunday’s big game.
Harbaugh doesn’t think so.
“He’s been through this so much. He’s a singularly focused individual,” the coach said. “He understands what’s important and he understands what’s important for our football team heading into Sunday. We all know there’s nothing to it. So I understand that that’s something that he’s never ever been involved in.
“I think it’s kind of too bad that someone was given an opportunity to get some free publicity out there undeserved and unearned, really for no reason. As a football team, it’s nothing for us. So we’ll look right through to our challenge, which is the San Francisco 49ers and Sunday night.”
Harbaugh also added some insight into what Lewis told him about the report.
“He kind of laughed about it and told me there’s nothing to it. He told me the same thing he told (the media),” Harbaugh said. “Ray’s honest. Ray’s straightforward. He’s told us in the past and he told us now he’s never taken any of that stuff ever. And I believe Ray. I trust Ray completely. We have a relationship. I know this guy. I know what he’s all about. So it’s just too bad that it has to be something that gets so much play.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco doesn’t buy into the notion that Lewis would use a performance-enhancing drug, even if it meant the linebacker could return from torn triceps for one last playoff run.
“It’s just crazy. I think a lot of people don’t understand what Ray Lewis is all about and, for some reason, people want to go out and try to get him,” Flacco said. “They put him in a bad light. The bottom line is Ray is a great person and a great person for this league. For somebody to do that and try to put a bad light on someone in this situation is kind of crazy at this point.”