With just one game left in Ray Lewis' career, it seems as if people would have realized by now: You wouldn't like him when he's angry.
According to a Sports Illustrated report, Lewis' recent recovery from a torn triceps involved taking a product that contained a banned substance (via ESPN.com):
Ray Lewis was given a product to help heal his torn triceps that contains a banned substance, according to a Sports Illustrated report that will appear on newsstands Monday. The Baltimore Ravens linebacker has not tested positive and denies using it, a team official told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.
Mitch Ross, a co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS), told Sports Illustrated that he spoke to Lewis shortly after the linebacker tore his triceps on Oct. 14 and he requested products that could help speed up his recovery. Deer-antler spray was among the prescribed treatments. Deer-antler spray contains a substance (IGF-1) on the NFL's banned list.
Clearly someone is fibbing here—Ross says he gave Lewis deer-antler spray; Lewis denied taking deer-antler spray (via Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com):
When asked directly if he took deer antler extract to recover from his triceps injury, Ray Lewis said, "No. Never." Never? "Never."— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) January 29, 2013
Unfortunately, no one on this planet (I'm pretty sure) has the powers of Professor Charles Xavier. We can't read minds, and as such, we don't know (at least for now) if Lewis is actually guilty of breaking the rules. There's no point in calling him a "cheater," as many have quickly jumped to do, until more information is known.
What we do know, however, is that this story will only work as extra motivation for Lewis.
If you've ever seen any of his motivational speeches, pregame rants or emotional, tear-filled outbursts, you know how much Lewis can run on hunger and provocation. He plays with a fire and intensity stronger than perhaps anyone else in the NFL.
This was apparent in 2001, when, amidst talk about his alleged involvement in a double murder case, he went out and won Super Bowl MVP. During his acceptance speech, he was quick to mention the critics (via NFL.com):
Despite the afterglow of winning the biggest game of his career, Lewis couldn't help but take the opportunity to address any critics who still want to see him fail.
"If the world wants to see me stumble now," he said. "I'll stumble with a [Super Bowl] ring on my finger."
Lewis uses criticism and negative attention as a tool better than most, and while you may not like him, it's difficult to deny that developments like Tuesday's make the extremely motivated linebacker even more dangerous for Super Bowl XLVII.