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Ravens: Lewis report won't be a distraction

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Ravens: Lewis report won't be a distraction

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Baltimore Ravens don't intend to let the controversy surrounding linebacker Ray Lewis become a distraction in their preparation for the Super Bowl.

An article in Sports Illustrated said Lewis sought help from a company that says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a banned product connected to human growth hormone.

``We can't let that distract us from our one true mission, winning the Super Bowl,'' Baltimore running back Ray Rice said Wednesday, shortly before the Ravens hit the practice field to prepare for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Minutes earlier, Lewis said he ``never, ever'' used performance-enhancing drugs in his effort to return from a torn right triceps. He also distanced himself from Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (SWATS).

The Ravens are standing behind the 37-year-old Lewis, who sat out 12 weeks before returning to fuel the Ravens' playoff run. He will end his 17-year career after the Super Bowl.

``Ray is an awesome guy and we're here to play football. We don't even want to give that (report) any merit,'' Baltimore guard Bobbie Williams said. ``It's kind of sad that they would try to discredit a guy who's done so much and been such a big influence not only to this team but the National Football League. Here we are just a couple of days away from the Super Bowl and they try to do this right here. We just really want to just stay away from that.''

Coach John Harbaugh also backed Lewis, saying, ``He told me there's nothing to it. He's told us in the past, he's told us now, that he's never taken any of that stuff, ever. And I believe Ray.''

So do Lewis' teammates.

``No one has not passed a test and no one has tested positive for anything, so it's all speculation,'' linebacker and special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo said. ``There's information and disinformation. If you have a little intelligence you can dissect it and keep it moving.''

The 49ers also find the story hard to believe.

``I don't think Ray would take any substance,'' San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis said.

Lewis and the Ravens have been taught not to take any medication or drug without first getting the OK from the league or the team's training staff.

``I will run everything by my trainers to make sure it's legal by the NFL,'' cornerback Corey Graham said. ``As an NFL player and a professional athlete, you do try a lot of stuff. I'm not going to sit here and say you don't. But you do have to run it by your trainers and people who know what's legal and not legal before you try it.''

Linebacker Paul Kruger said he learned of the league's policy on drugs during his first season in the NFL.

``If there is something you're interested in taking, you have to make sure it's cleared and OK,'' he said. ``From what I recall from the rookie symposium, the best way is to take it to the trainer and see what they think.''

Williams said if he is interested in taking something, he'll check with the NFLPA.

``They run it for banned substances and have people there for us to check everything,'' Williams said. ``They'll send me back an email telling me everything is cleared. That said, you're still responsible for everything you put in your body.''

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Report: Ravens safety Matt Elam arrested on drug charges

Report: Ravens safety Matt Elam arrested on drug charges

Ravens safety Matt Elam was arrested on drug charges early Sunday morning in Miami, according to Pro Football Talk.

"We have just been made aware of this and are looking into the situation," Ravens Vice President of Public Relations Chad Steele said via email. Steele later added that "Matt Elam is not in our (Ravens) plans."

The arrest, which reportedly occurred at 3:45 a.m. Sunday, is the latest disappointment for one of the biggest draft busts in Ravens history. Elam was a first-round pick in 2013, but he never came close to reaching expectations due to injuries and poor play. The Ravens did not pick up Elam’s fifth-year option making him a free agent in March. He has only played nine games the past two seasons, and he was suspended for one game in 2015 for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.

Now Elam has more to worry about than his disappointing NFL career, and finding another team to play for.  According to the report, Elam was charged with possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of cannabis with the intent to sell or deliver, and possession of a controlled substance. Elam was initially pulled over for reckless driving, according to police, who then found 126 grams of marijuana and three grams of oxycodone in his car.

Related: Will the Ravens cut tight end Dennis Pitta to create cap space?

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NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Combine Primer And Sleepers

NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Combine Primer And Sleepers

The annual NFL Combine kicks of Wednesday in Indianapolis. Whatever happens there -- receivers run fast, quarterbacks flash arm strength, defenders lack pop -- projections will change and in some cases significantly. Therefore here's my last look at the situation before all the sprints and lifts via mock draft 4.0 plus some other thoughts below.

* League sources offered up names of several prospects currently ranked all over the big boards with the chance to make a big splash during the combine. They include:

Alabama TE O.J. Howard -- Everybody already knows the 6-foot-6 Howard is a two-way monster. His Senior Bowl dominance certainly confirmed that. Rocking the Combine could alter his mid-to-late first round projection into 10-13 range where teams like New Orleans, Cleveland and Arizona have TE needs. Call me crazy, but if Howard is there when the Redskins pick at 17, I can imagine Washington thinkng long and hard about two-TE sets wth Jordan Reed. 

Oklahoma DT Charles Walker -- The Redskins have shown interest in Walker, according to a league source, though his draft range is all over the map. The interior force's redshirt junior season ended early due to a concussion followed by a decision to leave the Sooners early with draft preparation in mind. Was a second-team All-Big 12 selection as a junior thanks to six sacks. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Walker ninth among defensive tackles while WalterFootball.com projects the 304-pounder as a Day 2 pick.

<<CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0>>

Pittsburgh OT Adam Bisnowaty -- Considered underrated despite starting four seasons for the Panthers. The left tackle helped key a resurgent season for the Panthers. Lack of wow prospects at the position means the order outside of Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin), Cam Robinson (Alabama) and Garrett Bolles (Utah) is in flux.

Ashland TE Adam Shaheen -- The D2 prospect is early candidate for the "Who is that guy?" award. Expect raves about Shaheen's size and athleticism. CBS Sports already has Day 2 projection on the 6-foot-6, 277-pounder who can run routes like a wide receiever. Could he move all the way into round 1?

Tulsa WR Keevan Lucas -- What the 5-foot-10 receiver lacks in height he makes up for with speed and production. Caught 81 passes for 1,180 yards and 15 touchdowns during his senior season with the Golden Hurricanes. Certain analytics show Lucas' production stood out  and put him in the same statistical company as future NFL receivers Stefon Diggs and Marqise Lee. Day 3 sleeper.

Other to watch: QB Pat Mahomes (Texas Tech), TE David Nkoju (Miami, Fl.), DT Ryan Glasgow (Michigan), CB Cordrea Tankersley (Clemson)

* Look at Scot McCloughan's draft history and one theme emerges: The man likes seniors, especially in round one. Brandon Scherff and Josh Doctson were both four-year players. The bulk of first round selections during his time at Seattle and San Francisco. That doesn't mean McCloughan will go that way with the 17th overall pick; Of the top 19 ranked prospects according to ESPN analyst Todd McShay, 14 are underclassmen. But keep a close on seniors with early round projections like Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Temple inside linebacker Haason Reddick, Indiana guard Dan Feeney, LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White, Washington wide receiver John Ross and Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.

<<CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0>>