Ray Lewis (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

In the shadow of Sunday's Super Bowl, Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis has received a lot of press surrounding a questionable spray he may have used to heal an injury faster than usual. Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes that whether or not Lewis used an illegal substance, the conversation does illuminate a larger issue.

If you're like me, you have a hard time believing something called deer-antler spray could give athletes any more of an edge than snake oil. Even so, it does contain a substance banned by the NFL, and a recent Sports Illustrated report says an Alabama entrepreneur hawking the spray, was contacted by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in October. Lewis, in town to play at Sunday's Super Bowl, was reportedly seeking a product that would help him speedily recover from a torn triceps. Referring to the Alabama man pushing the spray, Lewis said, "I never, ever took what he says I was supposed to do."

We don't know if Lewis has cheated, but we'd be fools to deny the prevalence of drugs in the NFL. In 2006, the league suspended Shawne Merriman, then a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, after a positive steroid test. Writer Chuck Klosterman noted later that at 272 pounds, Merriman was "a rhinoceros who moves like a deer. Common sense suggests this combination should not be possible. It isn't."

Read Jarvis Deberry's entire piece at the Times-Picayune.

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