Superbowl Star Ray Lewis Denies IGF Allegations

By Ben Feuerherd 01/30/13

The Ravens linebacker denies claims he took banned IGF hormones to recover from an injury. 

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Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has refused to comment on reports that he used a banned substance to recover from a triceps injury, dismissing the accusations as "stupidity." "There's never been a question if I've ever even thought of using anything," Lewis said, when questioned about the claims. "So to even entertain stupidity like that, tell him to try to get his story off somebody else." A Sports Illustrated story linked Lewis to a company called "Sports with Alternatives to Steroids" ("S.W.A.T.S.") suggesting that the linebacker, who is retiring this year after 17 seasons in the NFL, was administered deer antler spray from the company to speed recovery from a torn right triceps. Deer antler spray contains IGF-1, a hormone that is banned by the NFL and most professional sports leagues, and one that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is accused of abusing. But it looks like science is on Lewis' side. Dr. Roberto Salvatori, a scientist at Johns Hopkins who runs a lab studying growth hormone deficiency, claims that IGF-1 can not be delivered orally. “If there were, a lot of people would be happy that they don’t need to get shots anymore,” he says. “It’s just simply not possible for it to come from a spray.” S.W.A.T.S. owner Mitch Ross says the spray is a "natural substance"  that was used as part of Lewis' recovery, and there's no reason for the NFL player to lie about it. "The bad thing is he's denying it," says Ross. "Ray shouldn't have anything to hide."

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Benjamin Feuerherd is a city reporter at the New York Post. He has previously worked for The Daily Beast and NBC. You can find him on Linkedin and Twitter