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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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Antonio Brown apologizes for streaming Steelers' locker room scene

Antonio Brown apologizes for streaming Steelers' locker room scene

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown apologized Tuesday night for streaming live video from the Steelers locker room on Sunday featuring coach Mike Tomlin calling the New England Patriots 'a--h---s' in advance of Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Brown posted the locker room scene through Facebook Live and has since deleted it.

Ironically enough, the video also included Tomlin telling his team to "keep a low profile."

"I'm sorry for my actions and behavior after Sunday's game," Brown posted on his Twitter feed. "I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me, and I wanted to share that moment with our fans."

"It was wrong of me to do, against team and NFL policy, and I have apologized to Coach Tomlin and my teammates for my actions.

"I'm sorry for letting it become a distraction and something that they've had to answer questions about while we're preparing for a big game on Sunday."

Tomlin, of course, has indeed been asked about the video as the Steelers try to prepare for the AFC title game at New England.

"It was foolish for him to do that, it was selfish for him to do that, it was inconsiderate for him to do that," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Not only is it a violation of our policy, it's a violation of league policy, both of which he knows.

"There are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective," Tomlin added. "We will punish him, we won't punish us."

 Translation: He might take a hit in the wallet, but he's playing Sunday, and don't think for a fraction of a second he's not.

MORE RAVENS: Weighing pros and cons of bringing back Dumervil

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Will Elvis Dumervil get his 100th career sack with Ravens, or someone else?

Will Elvis Dumervil get his 100th career sack with Ravens, or someone else?

The Ravens face critical offseason personnel decisions, including which players to bring back, and which veteran players are no longer worth the financial investment.

Here are the pros and cons regarding pass rusher Elvis Dumervil:

Reasons to keep Dumervil:

Dumervil is a proven pass rusher with 99 career sacks, and he will be highly motivated wherever he plays next season. He turns 33 years old Thursday (Jan. 19), and wants to show he has plenty left in the tank. I asked Dumervil after the season-ending game in Cincinnati whether he thought he would return to the Ravens.

“Wherever I play next season, I’ll be a beast,” Dumervil said.

Dumervil had 17 sacks in 2014, and the Ravens need pass rushers. He was never fully healthy in 2016, missing eight games after Achilles surgery.  If the Ravens release Dumervil, there’s a chance he could have a big season playing for someone else.

Reasons to release Dumervil:

The Ravens would save more than $6 million in salary cap space by cutting ties with Dumervil. There’s no guarantee Dumervil will stay healthy, or be a double-digit sack artist again. The money the Ravens could save by releasing Dumervil could be used to fill holes elsewhere.

Prediction:

My gut feeling is that Dumervil and the Ravens will part ways. Terrell Suggs is returning, and he led the Ravens with eight sacks in 2016 playing with a torn biceps. Matt Judon had four sacks as a rookie. The biggest disappointment in the pass rushing department was Za’Darius Smith, who had just one sack. However, even with Dumervil getting just three sacks in 2015, the Ravens won eight games, and had the league’s seventh-ranked defense. I think the Ravens will use the money they would pay Dumervil to address issues like finding another cover corner and an offensive playmaker.  

MORE RAVENS: Playoff winners expose Ravens shortcomings