A 37-year-old linebacker who tore his triceps in the middle of October and then was back on the field in time for the playoffs, less than three months later… you’d have to be crazy not to assume Ray Lewis had a bit of “extra help” in his rehabilitation.
For some, that help was believed to come in the form of divine intervention. Lewis is certainly one of the most outwardly religious players in sports history, so if God really does care about the outcomes of games that take place on Sundays, Lewis might be near the top of His list. Then again, how does one explain Tim Tebow’s horrific 2012 season if God is meddling in game results?
For many others, including yours truly, that help was assumed to be of the chemical variety — the banned chemical variety. A torn triceps in an injury that often requires surgery and a full year of rehabilitation. Lewis isn’t playing at 100 percent and he’s getting some assistance from a contraption on his arm that makes him look like a cyborg, but that still doesn’t add up to a full explanation of how it’s physically possible for him to be playing football right now.
When you add in the chemicals, the formula suddenly adds up a lot easier.
Today, a report emerged that seems to lend credence to the notion that Lewis was juicing, to put in bluntly, in his quest to return to the Ravens in time for one final playoff push (Lewis announced he’ll retire at the end of this season, whether he wins the Super Bowl or not). Sports Illustrated says that there’s a recording that proves Lewis was in contact with a company called S.W.A.T.S. (Sports with Alternative to Steroids), a sports supplement provider that sells what are pretty much steroids (despite the name).
Allegedly, Lewis received a product made from deer antler extract. In that extract is a chemical called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), a hormone known to have anabolic effects in adults, and one that’s banned by the NFL. Yep, something that’s in deer antlers can make you a better football player — the wonders of science!
As ProFootballTalk.com notes, Lewis is unlikely to be disciplined by the NFL even if it’s proven that he did take a banned substance. He’s already announced this Sunday is his last game and, even if the NFL wants to pursue a suspension, the appeals process couldn’t possibly be completed before the Super Bowl.
So, now we’re left with the issue of how to look at one of the game’s greatest linebackers, as he plays in the game that could cement his football immortality. Is he superhuman or divine, or is he now part deer?
For me, it’s the deer one.