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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks’ J.R. Smith guarantees title, warns Paul Pierce of ‘consequences’ for talk 09.02.13 at 7:48 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Tigers at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Marlins at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Orioles at Indians, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rays at Angels, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Florida State at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 11 a.m. (CBS), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Golf: Deutsche Bank Championship, 11:30 a.m. (TGC), 1 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ Knicks guard J.R. Smith brushed off Paul Pierce‘s comments about the Nets becoming New York’s team and guaranteed a title this season for his club.

“I’m 100 percent sure,” the 2013 NBA Sixth Man of the Year said when asked about the Knicks ending their championship drought.

Smith, speaking at a charity event in New York over the weekend, said that despite the loss of some key players, the Knicks are positioned to make a run at the team’s first title since 1973.

“I feel comfortable,” he said. “People ruled us out last year early, too. We added some great pieces. Unfortunately, we got rid of some good pieces. But we added Andrea [Bargnani], Beno [Udrih], Metta [World Peace]. We have to consistently play like we did the first 20 games last year the whole season. We can’€™t have a middle-of-season lapse. We have to consistently play the same way.”

As for Pierce, Smith said the former Celtic doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says the Nets can be the city’s top team. Pierce also said last month that his hatred for the Knicks has “grown to another level” since he was traded to Brooklyn.

“I just look at him as a bitter person just getting out of Boston,” Smith said. “He doesn’t really know what New York is all about. He’s been playing in Boston his whole career.”

Added Smith: “He just knows, just know that his words have consequences and he’s going to have to pay for them.”

‘€¢ The University of Georgia had injury added to insult when it was confirmed that receiver Malcolm Mitchell tore his ACL celebrating a touchdown by a teammate during the fifth-ranked Bulldogs’ 38-35 loss to No. 8 Clemson on Saturday.

Mitchell, the team’s top returning receiver, leaped to celebrate with Todd Gurley following the running back’s 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

“He went to congratulate his teammate and I think they jumped up and chest-bumped or whatever and it ended up that he landed in a bad way,” Georgia coach Mark Richt told reporters in a conference call Sunday. “So he knew something happened.”

Mitchell is slated to have season-ending surgery soon and will apply for a medical redshirt so that he can retain two more years of eligibility.

Here’s the video, in which Mitchell (26) doesn’t appear to do anything out of the ordinary.

‘€¢ Super Bowl XLVII is remembered in part for a half-hour delay caused by a power outage, which preceded a 49ers rally before the Ravens held on for 34-31 victory. Ray Lewis isn’t convinced it was an accident.

“I’m not gonna accuse nobody of nothing — because I don’t know facts,” the recently retired Ravens linebacker told NFL Films, via USA Today. “But you’re a zillion-dollar company, and your lights go out? No. [Laughs] No way.

“Now listen, if you grew up like I grew up — and you grew up in a household like I grew up — then sometimes your lights might go out, because times get hard. I understand that. But you cannot tell me somebody wasn’t sitting there and when they say, ‘The Ravens [are] about to blow them out. Man, we better do something.’ … That’s a huge shift in any game, in all seriousness. And as you see how huge it was because it let them right back in the game.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 2, 2001, with Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina one strike away from a perfect game, which Red Sox pinch-hitter singled to center field?

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Read More: J.R. Smith, Malcolm Mitchell, Paul Pierce, Ray Lewis
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Pacers angry about Heat’s aggressive play heading into Game 2 05.24.13 at 8:03 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Indians at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB NEtwork)
MLB: Cubs at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (WGN)
NHL playoffs: Senators at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Heat, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Pacers were frustrated after their Game 1 of their series vs. the Heat on Wednesday and it wasn’t just because they lost in overtime. Indiana players weren’t happy with some aggressive/dirty play by Miami, and they let their feelings be known.

Shane Battier was the primary target of the complaints, in part due to one play on which he drove on Roy Hibbert and kneed the Pacers center in the groin area, earning an offensive foul.

Tweeted Hibbert: U can knee or kick me every time u drive 2the rim. I’ll be there 2protect the rim. That wasn’t inadvertent. Battier knew what he was doing.

Battier also scuffled with Tyler Hansbrough, at one point appearing to throw an elbow while the two were battling for a rebound.

Meanwhile, Pacers coach Frank Vogel insisted his team took plenty of positives from the heartbreaking loss as they prepare for Friday night’s Game 2.

“Very encouraged,” he said. “Our belief in our ability to beat this team has strengthened after Game 1. Our familiarity in the playoffs, in the playoff series grows with each day, grows with each game, and there’s a lot of things we can definitely do better.”

‘™¦ Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t impress much with his three-interception effort at Wednesday’s OTAs, and now comes a report from CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman that Sanchez’ teammates are ready to move on. An unidentified Jet estimated that 80-90 percent of the team wants someone else taking snaps.

“Everyone on the team likes Mark personally, but there’s a general feeling among some of the players that maybe it’s time to give someone else a chance,” the player said.

‘™¦ Retired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro — the world’s tallest freestanding mountain at more than 19,000 feet above sea level — next month to raise awareness for clean water projects in East Africa.

“I am so FIRED UP for this adventure, but until then, I need your help to bring clean water wells to thousands of children and families,” Lewis said in a statement.

The 38-year-old Lewis will be an NFL analyst for ESPN this season.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 24, 1988, a power outage forced the suspension of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Bruins and Oilers at 16:37 of the second period with the score tied at 3. Which Oilers player set a record when he opened the game by scoring the quickest goal in finals history, 10 seconds into the game?

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Read More: Mark Sanchez, Ray Lewis, Roy Hibbert, Shane Battier
Ravens plan to build Ray Lewis statue 02.08.13 at 8:42 am ET
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Less than a week after his final game, the Ravens are planning to build a statue of Ray Lewis, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said Thursday.

Bisciotti said he doesn’t know where the statue would be built, but that it could be in progress soon.

“I think he set himself apart in Baltimore sports history,” Bisciotti said, “and we will certainly look into it and I would not be surprised if there is one there in the next year or two.”

Lewis, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker, has no plans to come back as part of the coaching staff, according to Baltimore coach John Harbaugh.

“I have asked him, but he’s not interested,” Harbaugh said.

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis,
Ray Lewis’ son signs with Miami 02.07.13 at 8:15 am ET
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Despite having an NCAA investigation hanging over the program, the University of Miami football team landed a strong class of recruits on national signing day Wednesday. Among the new players is the son of retiring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

Ray Lewis III , a 5-foot-9 athlete (college position unclear) who scored 93 touchdowns as a running back at Lake Mary Prep in suburban Orlando, follows his father and mother to Miami.

“It’s almost overwhelming to try to understand what I’m feeling as a father,” Lewis said. “You have to keep your emotions in because it’s the unreal part about it, that I walked two days from retiring and winning a Super Bowl to walking in and seeing my son following me to my alma mater. Who writes a storybook ending like that?”

Read More: Ray Lewis,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Youkilis finally responds to new Yankees teammate Joba Chamberlain 02.06.13 at 8:02 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Raptors, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Spurs at Timberwolves, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UConn at St. John’s, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Marquette at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Minnesota at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Saint Louis at Fordham, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Iowa at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Kansas at TCU, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Stanford at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Colorado State at Nevada, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Joba Chamberlain said Tuesday that new Yankees teammate Kevin Youkilis finally responded to the pitcher’s December voicemail, answering with a text message, although Chamberlain wouldn’t reveal what the message said, indicating he wants to minimize the issue.

“I don’t want him to have to talk about [the feud],” Chamberlain said. “He’s going to have enough to worry about over here. He’s really the only acquisition we’ve made as of now.”

Added Chamberlain: “We’re two grown men. We’re playing on the same team and our one goal is to win. I hope he came over here for that, and I would assume he came over here for that. ‘€¦ I’m glad to have him on our side.”

Chamberlain and Youkilis famously feuded when they were on opposite sides of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, with Chamberlain making a habit out of throwing pitches in the direction of Youk’s head.

Chamberlain reached out to Youkilis after the free agent agreed to a one-year deal to fill in for Alex Rodriguez at third base, and the pitcher seemed annoyed when Youk was slow in responding. Now Chamberlain seems ready to move forward when they meet up at spring training.

“We’ll hug it out,” Chamberlain said.

‘™¦ Baltimore held a parade Tuesday to welcome home the Super Bowl champion Ravens, and an estimated 200,000 purple-clad fans turned out for the event.

“The city of Baltimore — I love you for ever and ever and ever and ever,” the retiring Ray Lewis told fans in front of City Hall, where the players loaded into military vehicles for a ride to M&T Bank Stadium to greet a capacity crowd.

At the stadium, the team held a short ceremony that was highlighted by Lewis doing his “Squirrel” dance.

‘™¦ Ray Lewis might have been the star Tuesday, but he was a bit player in the Super Bowl, according to an ex-teammate.

Trevor Pryce, who was a defensive lineman for the Ravens from 2006 until 2010, questioned Lewis’ play during a radio interview with Jim Rome.

“I think he played with a case of the nerves. I think he had the yips. I really do,” Pryce said. “He had it bad. He didn’t look like himself, even his new self. That guy’s gone, that guy’s named Patrick Willis. But even the guy he was last week, he wasn’t that guy. He had a case of it bad, badly. It was almost like he was just hoping, ‘Let’s get this over with.’ ”

Although Lewis led all players with 51 tackles in the postseason, he struggled in coverage on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis on Sunday.

“Half of his check should go to [fellow Ravens linebacker] Dannell Ellerbe for making that last play on that last fade route,” Pryce said. “The other half to Greg Roman, the 49ers offensive coordinator.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 6, 1988, Larry Bird won the 3-point competition during All-Star Weekend in Chicago, famously holding his right index finger in the air before his final shot went through the net to clinch the victory. Which player did Bird beat for the title?

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Read More: joba chamberlain, kevin youkilis, Ray Lewis, Trevor Pryce
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Ray Lewis blames ‘system’ for failing to investigate double murder 02.04.13 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Stars at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Beanpot, Boston University vs. Northeastern, 5 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Beanpot, Boston College vs. Harvard, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Kings at Jazz, 9 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Iowa State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: George Mason at Old Dominion, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Seton Hall at Pittsburgh, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas at West Virginia, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Ray Lewis ended his career a champion Sunday night when his Ravens held off the 49ers to win the Super Bowl, but the tarnish on his legacy remains. During an interview with CBS’ Shannon Sharpe that aired during the pregame show, Lewis addressed the controversy surrounding his role in a double murder outside an Atlanta nightclub in 2000.

Lewis, who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and testified against two companions who were eventually acquitted, claimed “the system” needed to better investigate the case.

“It’€™s simple,” Lewis said when asked what he would say to the victims’ families. “God has never made a mistake. That’€™s just who He is, you see. And if our system — it’€™s the sad thing about our system — if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have got to the bottom line truth. But the saddest thing ever was that a man looked me in my face and told me, ‘€˜We know you didn’€™t do this, but you’€™re going down for it anyway.’€™ To the family, if you knew, if you really knew the way God works, he don’€™t use people who commits anything like that for His glory. No way. It’€™s the total opposite.”

After the interview, Sharpe told fellow hosts that the fact Lewis had come so far “is a testament to how this man has transformed his life,” and he got defensive when fellow host Boomer Esiason questioned Lewis’ “complex” issues.

“How is it complex?” Sharpe demanded to know from Esiason.

Responded Esiason: “He was involved in a double murder and I’€™m not so sure he gave us all the answers we were looking for,” Esiason said. “He knows what went on there. He can obviously just come out and say it. He doesn’€™t want to say it. He paid off the families — I get all that, that’€™s fine. But that doesn’€™t take away from who he is as a football player. I appreciate you going down there and asking him that direct question. I’m not so sure I buy the answer.”

‘™¦ ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Jets still are looking to trade Tim Tebow, but there isn’t any interest. New York is asking for a mid- to late-round draft pick, but apparently other teams have no confidence in Tebow’s ability to lead a team.

Said one NFL general manager: “I think his career is over without playing another position.”

‘™¦ The family of Muhammad Ali denied a report that the boxing legend was near death and posted a photo of him sitting in a chair wearing a Ray Lewis T-shirt. Daughter May May Ali said her father was watching the Super Bowl at home in Arizona.

Ali, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, turned 71 on Jan. 17. A British tabloid quoted his brother Rahman, who acknowledged having no contact with the family since last summer, as saying Ali was in bad health.

“He’s fine, in fact he was talking well this morning,” May May Ali said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “These rumors pop up every once in a while, but there’s nothing to them.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 4, 1990, which Bruin became the 32nd goaltender in NHL history with 200 victories following a 3-2 victory over the Quebec Nordiques?

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Read More: Muhammad Ali, Ray Lewis, Tim Tebow,
SWATS owner Mitch Ross discusses Ray Lewis controversy on M&M: ‘The education’s not there’ 01.31.13 at 12:49 pm ET
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Mitch Ross, owner of the SWATS supplement company that allegedly provided Ray Lewis with a deer-antler spray that contains the banned substance IGF-1, joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to talk about this week’s Sports Illustrated story that put him in the spotlight.

“You know what I’ve learned about print media, media in general? They do their best to destroy whatever they find that is good,” said Ross, who added that he plans to travel to New Orleans and hold a press conference Friday. “They say antler velvet doesn’t have IGF-1 in it. Then they say it does. Either it does or it doesn’t. Which is it? Well, we know it does. Should athletes be able to use natural things to recover their body, or should they do it the Lance Armstrong way, or the Barry Bonds way. Which way should they do it? The government, the Mitchell Report, wanted alternatives and education — alternatives, that’s what this is. That’s what my company is all about, providing alternative performance enhancing. And do you think I got to this stage by lying, giving things that don’t work?”

Ross insisted that the deer-antler spray he sells does not deserve the bad name it’s getting. He agreed that HGH should be banned by the NFL, “in its synthetic form, absolutely.” But he compared his product to getting IGF-1 from eating venison.

“If you eat steak you get creatine in steak. ‘€¦ It’s the same exact process,” he said. “They couldn’t ban it. It’s a naturally occurring substance. That’s the whole problem here, where you cross hairs with synthetic and natural. That’s the problem. The education’s not there.”

Ross said he worked with then-Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena in 2009 after his product was tested and cleared.

“[MLBPA assistant general counsel] Bob Lenaghan tested this in 2009 for Carlos Pena. I worked with Pena in 2009. Lenaghan says, ‘Fine, use it.’ In 2010 1/2-11, they banned it. I’m currently suing the Major League Baseball Players Association as we speak.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Read More: Mitch Ross, Ray Lewis,
Former Giants WR Amani Toomer: For Ray Lewis, it’s definitely ‘all about him’ at 9:14 am ET
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Former Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer is taking some shots at the retiring Ray Lewis.

“It’s definitely all about him,” Toomer told USA Today. “Once a guy goes to the center of the field, goes into the victory formation on the last play of his last home game … I just don’t think the Giants or any organization I’ve ever been a part of, even growing up, would allow somebody to single themselves out like that.

“If you single yourself out after you make a play, that’s one thing,” Toomer continued. “But to walk out on the field reminds me of the WWE, like the Rock coming out. You’re becoming a caricature of yourself. It’s exhausting. I don’t know why somebody would want that.”

Toomer, whose Giants lost to the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV when Lewis earned MVP honors, did mention how he “loves” Lewis as a football player and called him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, he also talked about Lewis pleading guilty to obstruction of justice after two men died during a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta in 2000.

“If you want to say you’re Mr. Religious and all of that, have a clean record. Don’t say all of that stuff if you know there’s stuff that might come back,” Toomer said. “Those are the things that, when I look at him, I just think hypocrisy.”

Read More: Amani Toomer, Ray Lewis,
Ray Lewis again denies PED use, calls Sports Illustrated report a ‘funny’ story 01.30.13 at 2:12 pm ET
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Ray Lewis called Mitch Ross, the co-owner of Sports With Alternatives to Steroids who said he gave Lewis performance-enhancing drugs, a “coward” with “no credibility” on Wednesday.

Lewis, in New Orleans for Sunday’s Super Bowl, also said he was “agitated” over the Sports Illustrated report that he used treatments including deer-antler spray, which contains a substance (IGF-1) banned by the NFL, to recover from a triceps injury earlier this season.

“Our world is a very secret society,” Lewis said of the NFL. “We try to protect our world as much as we can. When you let cowards come in and do things like that, to try to disturb something, I’ve said it before and I’ve said a million times, the reason why I’m smiling is because it’s so funny of a story.

“I’ve never, ever took what he says I was supposed to do. It’s just sad that someone can have this much attention on a stage this big where the dreams are really real. I don’t need it, my teammates don’t need it, the 49ers don’t need it. Nobody needs it because it just really shows you that people really plan things and try to attack people from the outside. It’s just very foolish. The guy has no credibility. He’s been sued four or five times over this same B.S. I just truly believe he doesn’t have the privilege for me to speak about it ever again.”

Lewis missed 10 games with the triceps injury and reportedly used a number of SWATS treatments, including the deer-antler spray, to speed his recovery. Ross told ESPN Radio last week that Lewis “used every product I had” and is only denying it because he may be “scared of [Roger] Goodell.”

However, a professor at Johns Hopkins University told The Baltimore Sun that, despite SWATS’ claims, there isn’t an acceptable scientific way that IGF-1 can be delivered orally.

“If there were, a lot of people would be happy that they don’t need to get shots anymore,” Dr. Roberto Salvatori told the Sun. “It’s just simply not possible for it to come from a spray.”

Despite his demeanor at the press conference, Lewis maintained, that he wasn’t angry about the report — in fact, that he’s never angry — because he is “too blessed to be stressed.”

“You can use a different word,” he said. “You can use the word agitated, because I’m here to win the Super Bowl. I’m not here to entertain somebody that doesn’t affect that one way or another. The word agitated is probably better.”

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, NFL, Ray Lewis, Rumor Mill
Report: Ravens LB Ray Lewis received banned substance while recovering from injury this season 01.29.13 at 12:37 pm ET
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According to a Sports Illustrated report, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis appears to have used a banned substance to help him recover from a torn triceps earlier this season.

Almost immediately after Lewis’ injury in October, a company called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.) sent Lewis a number of items, including a deer-antler spray that contains IGF-1. That substance is banned by the NFL.

S.W.A.T.S. owner Mitch Ross recorded a phone conversation with Lewis hours after the player’s Oct. 14 injury. In the conversation, Ross explains to Lewis how to use the spray (under the tongue).

According to the SI story:

Ross prescribed a deluxe program, including holographic stickers on the right elbow; copious quantities of the powder additive; sleeping in front of a beam-ray light programmed with frequencies for tissue regeneration and pain relief; drinking negatively charged water; a 10-per-day regimen of the deer-antler pills that will “rebuild your brain via your small intestines” (and which Lewis said he hadn’t been taking, then swallowed four during the conversation); and spritzes of deer-antler velvet extract (the Ultimate Spray) every two hours.

Also from the story:

Toward the end of the talk, Lewis asked Ross to “just pile me up and just send me everything you got, because I got to get back on this this week.”

Asked about his relationship with the company, Lewis tried to downplay it, although he acknowledged asking for “some more of the regular stuff” after his injury.

Said Lewis, shortly before ending the interview: “I think a lot of things helped me.”

Lewis was asked about the story during Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day and had little to say.

“Two years ago that was the same report,” Lewis said. “I wouldn’t give that report or him any of my press. He’s not worthy of that. Next question.”

Read More: Ray Lewis, super bowl,