By Larry Fine
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Ray Lewis, dogged by various accusations over his brilliant NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens, dismissed a report on Tuesday that said he had used a product containing a banned substance.
Holding court on a podium during Media Day for Sunday's Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, the soon-to-be retired Lewis was asked about a Sports Illustrated article published online that linked him to a substance banned by the National Football League.
It quoted Mitch Ross, co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS), as saying Lewis asked for products to speed his recovery from a torn triceps in October, including deer-antler extract.
Deer antler extract contains IGF-1 -- or insulin-like growth factor -- a natural anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth and is banned by the NFL, according to Ross.
The injury sidelined Lewis for 10 games, but the linebacker made it back on the field in time to play in three playoff victories that lifted the Ravens into the Super Bowl.
"Two years ago, it was the same report. I wouldn't give that report or him any of my press," said Lewis, who has not failed a drug test. "He's not worthy of that. Next question."
Lewis reiterated that he had "never" used deer-antler extract.
In 2001, the last time Lewis played in a Super Bowl, questions swirled about his involvement in the murders of two men outside an Atlanta nightclub after a Super Bowl party the year before.
Murder charges were dropped against Lewis, but he later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was fined $250,000 by the NFL.
During his hour-long Media Day session on the Superdome field where the title game will be played, Lewis was asked about the murders.
"Nobody here is really qualified to ask those questions," said Lewis, who has announced he will retire after the Super Bowl.
"At this time, I would rather direct my questions in other places. Because I live with that every day. You maybe can take a break from it.
"I don't. I live with it every day of my life and I would rather not talk about it today."
(Editing by Ian Ransom)