NEW ORLEANS —
The NFL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah declined comment.
“The team knew about this report. Ray denies taking anything and has always passed tests,” Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he found out about the SI story during the team’s bus ride to the Superdome for media day.
“I have not talked to Ray about that personally,” Harbaugh said. “What I do know about that is Ray has worked incredibly and extremely hard to get back, so I hate to see anything diminish the work ethic that he’s put in to get to where he is right now. And my understanding is Ray has passed every random, you know, substance test that he’s taken throughout the course of his whole career. So there’s never been a test that’s shown up anything along those lines.”
All in all, the topic only added to what already was a week filled with plot lines connected to Lewis.
There is the largely rehabilitated image of a man who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with a double murder after a Super Bowl party at an Atlanta nightclub in 2000. There is the impending retirement, a self-titled “last ride” for a player widely considered one of the top defenders in NFL history and the Super Bowl MVP in 2001.
And there is his recovery from what was originally thought to be a season-ending injury.
“When I tore my tricep, the doctor looked at me after I went in the office and she told me that I was out for the year. And I said, ‘Doc, are you sure?’ I said, ‘Nah.’ I said, ‘Doc, there’s no way I’m going to be out for the year with just a torn tricep,’ “ Lewis said with a laugh Tuesday. “I said, ‘I’ve been through way worse.’ She was like, ‘Ray, nobody’s never come back from this.’ I said, ‘Well, nobody’s ever been Ray Lewis, either.’ “