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Ray Lewis avoids talk of report on deer spray

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Ray Lewis avoids talk of report on deer spray

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Of all the topics Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis wanted to talk about at Super Bowl media day, deer-antler spray probably was not on the list.

He declined to directly address in any detail Tuesday questions about a Sports Illustrated report that he sought help from a company that makes the unorthodox product to speed his recovery from a torn right triceps. Lewis was the NFL's leading tackler in the playoffs after missing 10 regular-season games with the injury.

The company, Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (SWATS), says its deer-antler substance contains a banned performance-enhancer connected to human growth hormone.

The 37-year-old Lewis, who has announced he will retire after playing against the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's Super Bowl, dismissed the report as ``stupidity.''

Sport Illustrated reported that SWATS owner Mitch Ross recorded a call with Lewis hours after the player hurt his arm in an October game against Dallas. According to the report, Lewis asked Ross to send him deer-antler spray and pills, along with other products made by the company.

The magazine also said that when it spoke to Lewis for its story, he acknowledged asking Ross for ``some more of the regular stuff'' on the night of the injury and that he has been associated with the company ``for a couple years through Hue Jackson.''

Jackson is a former Ravens quarterbacks coach - and later head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Two years ago he stopped endorsing SWATS because his ties to the company violated NFL rules.

``That was a 2-year-old story that you want me to refresh ... so I won't even speak about it,'' Lewis said Tuesday. ``Because I've been in this business 17 years, and nobody has ever got up with me every morning and trained with me. Every test I've ever took in the NFL - there's never been a question of if I ever even thought about using anything. So to even entertain stupidity like that. ...''

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.' ``

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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In a league of either ball control or quick scores, the Ravens’ offense can do both

In a league of either ball control or quick scores, the Ravens’ offense can do both

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Matt Skura had no idea the third quarter was over until he checked the clock for himself. 

Against the Patriots two weeks ago, the Ravens took over on offense up just a touchdown with eight minutes and three seconds left in the quarter. They ran out the entire quarter, including six seconds of the fourth quarter, and ended the drive with a touchdown. 

The next drive took nine minutes and 35 seconds off the clock, as the two Ravens drives of the half that didn’t end the game took 17 minutes and 44 seconds off the clock. 

In a league of big plays and passing, the Ravens are bucking the trend with long, sustained drives to take the life out of defenses.

“You can definitely tell in the second half when they start to get worn down, especially those extended drives that are like, seven or eight minutes long,” Skura said. “By the end of it, the pass rush slows down, the run stopping slows down as well. We know it’s giving our defense rest to come out and feel fresh.”

But the Ravens not only can score with long, soul-killing drives, they can score at will, too. 

Against the Bengals last Sunday, the Ravens had the ball for just 23 minutes and 49 seconds. They also scored more points (49) than they ran offensive plays (46). 

“At the end of the day, if they can’t have the ball and score, they can’t win,” Willie Snead said. “It’s all about ball control and how fast we can get in the end zone. Last week, the time of possession was flipped. But we were scoring, the defense was playing great and we were just moving the ball at will.”

Baltimore is currently second in the NFL in possession at 34:24, trailing only San Francisco by eight seconds on average. Before the Cincinnati game, Baltimore was first in the NFL in time of possession. Scoring quickly, and on defense, tends to skew those numbers. 

The most impressive drives, though, are the ones that control the clock and involve double-digit plays.

“It’s just incredible what we’re doing right now, with these 14, 15-play drives,” Hayden Hurst said. “Teams are having a tough time matching up against us. We’re just kind of grinding out drives and marching down the field on teams. It’s really fun right now, what G-Ro has schemed up.”

The opponent also plays a factor in how the Ravens game plan, as giving the ball back to a talented offense could end up biting them later in the game.

“Like a game in New England, we know who’s on the other side of it,” Snead continued. “We’ve got to take that into consideration. 12-play, 18-play drives, that just means less time for him. It’s all into the game plan. When we run the ball and get going it’s hard for anybody to stop.”

While there’s different ways score on offense, the Ravens have shown that they’ve got the speed and talent to score quickly over-the-top of defenses with Lamar Jackson and Hollywood Brown, amongst others. 

And even though those are the prettiest plays, the drives that truly take the life out of the defense are the ones that take significant time of the clock, slowly bleeding the game until the offense doesn’t even know they’ve ran down an entire quarter.

“You’ve got to get the first first down,” Bradley Bozeman said. “Once you get the first first down, you start marching, start pacing. It just depends how they’re playing us, determines what we do. It’s not rocket science.”

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Browns' Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely, will miss rest of the 2019 season at a minimum

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Browns' Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely, will miss rest of the 2019 season at a minimum

Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett has been suspended indefinitely at a minimum of the remainder of the 2019 season, including the Ravens-Browns Week 16 matchup, for his role in a nasty brawl with the Steelers on Thursday Night Football. 

Things got ugly after Garrett tackled Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with eight seconds remaining in the Browns 21-7 victory over Pittsburgh. Rudolph attempted to pull Garrett's helmet off his head, which led the defensive lineman to then remove Rudolph's helmet. Garrett then used Rudolph's helmet to swing at Rudolph, using the helmet as a weapon.

You can watch the whole brawl unfold below.

Garrett's suspension means he will miss Baltimore's clash with Cleveland in Week 16. From a football standpoint, Garrett is arguably the Browns best defensive player and a crucial loss for a team that is still fighting for a playoff berth.

According to the release, Garrett must meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell prior to a decision on his reinstatement.

Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey has been suspended three games for his role in the incident as well. Following Garrett's helmet-punch, Pouncey, in defense of his quarterback, started kicking and punching Garrett. 

Browns linebacker Larry Ogunjobi has also been suspended for one game for his role in the incident, too.

Garrett is an enormous loss for the Browns on the football field, and this punishment from the NFL is the league's way of making sure an incident like the one that occurred Thursday night never happens again. 

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