NEW ORLEANS - It was the quintessential Super Bowl XLVII surreal sideshow - part news conference, part infomercial conducted by Mitch Ross, the "Deer Antler Spray guy," who was backed into a corner and grilled for an hour Friday by 40 reporters outside the media center.
"Deer antler," said one passerby when his girlfriend asked whom the reporters were grilling.
The Super Bowl XLVII spin doctor was in. And the visit proved as wild as it looked. The only thing missing from the bizarre scene outside the New Orleans Convention Center was that a New York Jets player was nowhere to be found in this circus.
he co-owner of Sports with Alternatives to Steroids told Sports Illustrated that upon Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' request, he provided him with products that helped accelerate his return from an Oct. 14 torn triceps.
Ross, 45, was asked directly Friday if Lewis, who made a remarkable recovery to return Jan. 6, asked Ross for deer antler spray, which contains the league's banned substance IGF-1.
"No," Ross said.
He was asked if he had proof that Lewis put the spray his mouth.
"I've never seen him put it in his mouth," Ross said.
Ross said he instead sent Lewis an arm-band system to help strengthen his arm, "right after the cast came off."
Ross added, "It's unfortunate that I'm getting death threats from Ravens fans. I got duped by Sports Illustrated.
"They catfished me. They dated me for two years and then made me look like a goofball. I'm trying to make right the wrong, let Ray play his football game and go into retirement.
"Ninety-five percent of the athletes, once they get what they need from me, they throw me under the bus. 'I don't know that guy. I didn't do this. I didn't do that.' "
Does Ross feel Lewis did that?
"I'm not going to talk about that."
Lewis has denied using the spray, saying during Tuesday's Media Day, "I'm going to say it again: That was a two-year-old story that you want me to refresh. I wouldn't give him the credit to mention his name or his antics in my speeches or my moment."
Jim Corbett, USA TODAY Sports