With All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis along with former Ravens assistant coach Hue Jackson linked to a product called "The Ultimate Spray" that contained a banned substance, general manager Ozzie Newsome defended the NFL drug-testing program.
“No. 1, I think we probably, in professional sports, have the best testing of all the four major sports,” Newsome said. “Our testing for performance enhancers goes year-round [and] they’re random. So, if there’s anything that any of our players are taking, then they will be found out about because they will test positive for it, and there would be a suspension.
“That being said, if there is a product that he’s taking, and he’s passing the tests, then I can’t explain that one. That’s up to our league and the testing that we go through. Now, Ray is one person that I think that we all can talk to, and he’ll explain any and everything to us about what he’s doing, why he’s doing it. So, if need be, we’ll have that conversation. But I trust, and I know because five times a week I walk into this building and people are here to test our guys, that nobody is getting away with anything.”
Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals safety Roy Williams, New York Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn and Cincinnati Bengals tight ends coach Jay Hayes were all linked to the spray in a report by PostGame.com.
“I’m no longer affiliated with this company,” Jackson told the Associated Press. “I don’t even know about a banned substance.”
Per the report, the spray contains IGF-1, a banned substance.
The owner of the supplement company, Mitch Ross, said he has sent over 25 bottles of the spray to Lewis.
He showed text messages and receipts from Lewis, according to the report.
“I use the spray all the time,” Williams said. “Two to three times a day. My body felt good after using it. I did feel a difference.”
St. Louis Rams linebacker David Vobora sued the company when he was suspended by the league for a positive steroid test, claiming the spray triggered the failed test.
“I didn’t know [IGF-1] was on there,” Williams said. “I’ve never failed a drug test. I don’t want to be associated with something that is banned.”
Ross told the website that he gave the spray to Jackson, Hayes and Lynn.
“In April of ’08 I gave various alternatives to steroids, including spray, to Hue Jackson at the Ravens’ training camp,” Ross said. “I also gave the spray to Jay Hayes of the Bengals and Anthony Lynn of the Jets. I want to prove that my protocol reverses the aging process on aging athletes and promotes the healing of injuries in a legal manner.”
Added NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy: "We have a long-standing policy that prohibits coaches from any relationship with a supplement company. Coach Jackson is now in compliance.”
Hayes denied giving the spray to players.
"I did not dispense the spray to players at all. Mitch gave me a sample," he said. "I still have it. I know Mitch, but I am in no way affiliated with S.W.A.T.S.”
Ray Lewis didn’t comment for the story.
There was a text message allegedly from Lewis, saying, "Yes, send me all the stuff."
Lewis and Williams haven’t failed drug tests, though.
The NFL doesn’t test for human growth hormone, which can only be detected through blood tests. The NFL, in conjunction with the NFL Players Association, only uses urine tests.