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NFL Referees Association congratulates officials selected for Super Bowl XLVII

Jerome Boger, Cam Newton AP

An unexpected controversy has arisen regarding the selection of referee Jerome Boger to wear the white hat for Super Bowl XLVII.  Some think that he didn’t earn it, the league says he did.

Regardless, the NFL Referees Association has congratulated him and the other men who will officiate the game.

Tim Millis, the NFLRA Executive Director, said in a release, “The Super Bowl XLVII crew, led by referee and crew chief Jerome Boger, all had an excellent 2012 season.  This is a well-deserved honor for each member of the crew.  Every NFLRA member wishes them the best of luck officiating an outstanding Super Bowl game.”

The release, issued initially by the NFL Referees Association, also has been released by the NFL, which surely is hoping to turn the page on any talk that Boger didn’t earn the assignment.  In our view, the NFL shouldn’t care; if the league is comfortable entrusting its marquee annual event to Boger or anyone else, it’s the NFL’s business.

For the 2012 season, Boger is best known for not ejecting Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who had bumped Boger after Boger failed to throw a flag for roughing the passer.

Ultimately, the blame for this entire incident should fall to Ed Hochuli.  The minute he tightened his shirts and extended his explanations, we noticed officials like never before.   We shouldn’t.  Though part of the NFL’s infrastructure, they also should be part of the background.

On Sunday, if Boger’s crew makes any bad calls, they’ll be front and center for the scorn of the fans of the team against which the bad calls go.

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Ed Reed could “definitely” see himself as a Patriot

Ed Reed Pic Getty Images

Ravens safety Ed Reed is an impending free agent, and it’s become popular to dot-connect Reed to New England as a match with longtime admirer Bill Belichick.

The speculation was fueled when Peter King of predicted on last Sunday’s Pro Bowl pregame show that Reed will indeed sign with the Patriots. King likened the hypothetical signing to Rodney Harrison’s with the Pats, back in 2003.

Reed was specifically asked by reporters Wednesday whether he could envision himself playing in Foxboro.

“Yeah, oh yeah man,” said Reed, per the Boston Herald. “I could definitely play for coach Belichick. He is a great coach. I’m sure he can help me to expand my football knowledge even more as a player and as a coach, so if I’m ever able to be around him, just like I was at the Pro Bowl, it’s huge.

“It’s the reason why I wear my sweater cut off a little bit. He’s the first guy I saw like, ‘That’s cool.’ You know, that’s cool. He cuts those sweater sleeves, and he’ll be comfortable.”

Sunday’s Super Bowl game against the 49ers is tentatively expected to be Reed’s last in a Ravens uniform.

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Brett Favre to join NFL Network for Super Bowl

Brett Favre High School Coach AP

Brett Favre is coming back.

To television. The Associated Press reports that Favre will be part of the NFL Network team providing 10-plus hours of coverage from New Orleans on Super Bowl Sunday. We haven’t heard much from Favre since the Saints bounty allegations first broke, a long stretch without a player who had been a constant part of the football world for the previous two decades.

Favre will be returning to the town and stadium where the Saints beat him in the NFC Championship Game that became a centerpiece of that bounty investigation. It’s also where he and the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI, so there’s a variety of memories of New Orleans for Favre to draw on during his television appearance.

In an email to AP, Favre wrote that he doesn’t miss the “grind and stress of day-to-day football, but I do miss my teammates and coaches.” He also said he’s looking forward to reconnecting with NFL fans and offered no word on whether he’s interested in a more regular television gig.

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Ray Lewis: PED accusation is “the trick of the devil”

Ray Lewis AP

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been quick to credit God for the successes in his NFL career. Now that an allegation of performance-enhancing drug use is arising just as his NFL career is coming to an end, Lewis is blaming the devil.

“That’s the trick of the devil,” Lewis said when asked about allegations that he used a banned performance-enhancing substance during his recovery from a torn triceps. “The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy. That’s what he comes to do. He comes to distract you from everything you’re trying to do.”

Lewis said that when the devil is trying to tear you down, all you can do is trust God to build you up. Lewis said that’s what his mother taught him from a young age and what he has tried to practice in his life, and to have an impact on others through his Christian faith.

“My mom taught me to put my complete faith in God,” Lewis said. “I truly believe impact and success are two different things. Anybody can have success. Impact is totally different. You talk about the walk of Jesus, his whole walk was impact. So that’s what my life is based on.”

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Ed Reed: Junior Seau knew what he was signing up for

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day Getty Images

Ravens safety Ed Reed hasn’t been shy when it comes to expressing his thoughts about the NFL’s attempts to increase player safety.

Reed said earlier this season that the only way to stop concussions it to stop playing football and the topic came up again in New Orleans. Reed admitted that he has days where he wakes up and wonders where his memory went, but said that he signed up for that by choosing to play a violent game. Reed said that every player signed up knowing that there were repercussions for it, leading to Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News asking if the late Junior Seau signed up for it.

“Did he sign up for it?’ Yeah, he signed up to play football. Things are going to happen. Do I want it to happen? No. When I was on a golf course, did I want to hear about Junior Seau? No, I didn’t want to hear that. I grew up watching him play. That was a sad day, a sad day,” Reed said. “Junior gave everything to football, and I’m sure he’s looking down with no regrets.”

Bernard Pollard, Reed’s parter in the Ravens secondary, said this week that he fears football won’t exist in 30 years. Reed’s comments are a pretty good argument against that view. As long as there are people willing to accept the repercussions of football in exchange for a well-paid job, the sport is going to continue to exist.

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Kyle Williams “shocked” NFL didn’t investigate Giants targeting him

NFC Championship - New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

Wide receiver Kyle Williams won’t be playing in the Super Bowl because of a torn ACL, but he’s in New Orleans with the 49ers and answering questions about his last playoff appearance.

That would be last year’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants, which featured a pair of Williams fumbles on punt returns that helped the Giants advance to the Super Bowl. After the game, a couple of Giants players said that they wanted to put hits on Williams that would bring his concussion history into play. Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams also talked about targeting Kyle Williams’ head in the infamous audiotape from the previous week’s game and the 49ers receiver said Wednesday that he was “shocked” that the Giants’ comments weren’t investigated by the league.

“When the bounty stuff came out and Gregg Williams had said the same things, basically, they went for his neck with that and they took that to the absolute highest level they could. But it was almost like when the Giants said it, it was not a big deal,” Kyle Williams said, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “That’s the only thing that kind of shocked me. I thought that would have the same reaction because it was the same exact thing.”

Williams said that he did get hit in the head during the game, though he doesn’t think that they led to either of his fumbles, and that he doesn’t know whether the Giants were targeting him or not. He was surprised that the comments didn’t draw more attention from the league in relation to what went on with the Saints, but he also made it clear that he wasn’t upset about it.

“Guys try to put guys out of the game every single game,” Williams said.

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Ahmad Brooks has Grade 1 shoulder sprain

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Near the end of the 49ers’ 28-24 NFC Championship Game win against the Falcons, 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks hit Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and left Ryan with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder.

Brooks can empathize with Ryan’s plight since he wound up with the same injury after the game. Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports that Brooks said Wednesday that he suffered a Grade 1 sprain of the joint, which is why he wasn’t a participant in practice two days last week.

He suffered the injury early in the game against the Falcons, but aggravated it on the fourth quarter hit that left Ryan injured as well. A Grade 1 sprain is the least severe, which explains why Brooks said he would have been able to play if there was a game last weekend and why there’s not much fear that Brooks will miss the Super Bowl.

Brooks is also playing with a dislocated finger that he picked up early in the season, although that didn’t stop him from playing a key role on the San Francisco defense in the regular season. It doesn’t sound like his shoulder sprain is going to stop him from doing so this Sunday either.

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Ravens’ Ed Dickson: 49ers’ defense has a lot of holes we can exploit

Ed Dickson AP

Ravens tight end Ed Dickson is watching tape of the 49ers, and he likes what he sees.

Dickson said at Super Bowl Media Day that watching the 49ers’ defense give up 24 first-half points to the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, the Ravens became confident that they’ll have similar success.

We’ve seen the success that Atlanta had,” Dickson said, via “We’re not going to be naïve. I’m sure they’ve made corrections. In the end, it’s all about us and the things that we do well with running the football and passing the ball, just being a balanced offense. We’ve seen a lot of things on film we can exploit, and we’ll go after those things.”

Of course, the 49ers’ defense also shut the Falcons out in the second half, so the things the Ravens think they can exploit may have already been corrected. But Dickson, who was held without a catch in the AFC Championship Game, seems to think he’s going to get a lot more opportunities in the Super Bowl.

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Jim Harbaugh calls Greg Roman’s offense “revolutionary”

Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore AP

San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh says his offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, is changing the way people think about offensive football.

At his press conference on Wednesday morning, Harbaugh made a specific point of bringing up Roman when asked about the team’s offensive success, saying that Roman has done things no offensive coach had done before in combining aspects of the read-option that quarterback Colin Kaepernick runs out of the pistol formation without losing the power game with fullbacks and tight ends that the 49ers like to run.

“I think Greg Roman has done a job that is revolutionary in football,” Harbaugh said. “I think the way he has mixed the trap, the power, the wham plays, into the pistol offense and into our conventional offense has been revolutionary in many ways.”

Harbaugh said he doesn’t know if the type of offense the 49ers run will become the norm in the NFL, but the 49ers do have the right players and the right coaches to make it work for them.

“It’s possible that it is here to stay. I won’t make any predictions on that,” Harbaugh said. “I think that it’s been successful for us because of the players we have executing it. I think they’re extremely good at it.”

If the 49ers win on Sunday, they’ll have become Super Bowl champions while running an offense unlike any Super Bowl champions before them.

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Smith never considered lying about his concussion symptoms

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day Getty Images

There’s a reasonable chance that if Alex Smith had simply lied, he’d still be the starting quarterback of the 49ers.

But he said Tuesday he had no regrets about revealing his concussion symptoms, which opened the door for Colin Kaepernick, and the door was subsequently slammed in Smith’s face.

Smith suffered his concussion Nov. 11 against the Rams, when Jo-Lonn Dunbar hit him hard enough to cause blurry vision, but Smith said he had no regrets about telling coaches and trainers about the symptoms.

No, no, no, not at all,” Smith said, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “I mean, we’re all going to be done with this game at some point. We’ve got a lot of life ahead of us. You err on the side of caution with that head stuff.

“There’s no brain transplants that I’ve ever heard of. You only get one. It’s not something to mess around with.”

Smith’s demotion shows how fine a line it can be in a performance business, but his grace in dealing with the situation shows how hard it is to succeed in the business of being a human being.

He admitted it was hard to watch the team win without him after they won so many with him.

“I’m not going to lie about any of that. It’s tough at times, for sure,” he said. “Tough to accept. Tough to watch.

“But we’re in the Super Bowl and it’s been an amazing experience. I love being a part of this. I’ve said this before. It’s bittersweet a little bit, but it’s a great thing to be a part of.”

Smith might not be the best quarterback in the league, but he’s good enough to help many teams, and his leadership and attitude he’s shown in the last two months will lend a maturity to whatever team he plays on next, since this door is effectively closed to him now.

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Ticket requests a hassle for Super Bowl players

Anastasia Danias AP

Players on the 49ers and Ravens are finding out one of the down sides of playing in the Super Bowl this week: Your friends and relatives assume you have free tickets to give them.

In reality, players in the Super Bowl get two free tickets and the opportunity to buy a limited number of tickets at face value, which ranges from $850 to $1,250. Some players are spending tens of thousands of dollars to bring large contingents of friends and family to the game — and even then they’re finding that relatives are asking for more.

“It’s been very difficult, to be honest with you,” Ravens cornerback Corey Graham said. “Everybody in your phone book is calling you and asking you if they can get tickets to the Super Bowl. Everybody assumes they’re free. It’s a tough situation. I just tried to put it all off on my wife and let her handle all that, all the hard work. I just try to prepare and get ready for the game which is the most important thing. You come out here, and it’s a great thing, but we’re here for one reason and that’s the most important thing is to play the game and have a good game and hope we win the game.”

Said Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, “Everybody was thinking they could come to the Super Bowl and wanted me to pay for everything. That was the craziest. They were asking for food, new clothes, and everything. It was all from family. I’ve got 15 people coming. When I told them how much a ticket was they understood. I think they were just thinking the tickets were free. We only get two free.”

Players on both the 49ers and the Ravens have said this week that the most important thing was getting all ticket requests taken care of last week, so that they could focus on actually preparing to play in the game this week. When you’re playing in the Super Bowl, you don’t want to spend your time worrying about all your relatives who want to go to the Super Bowl.

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Ravens’ Dannell Ellerbe playing through the worst pain he’s ever felt

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Getty Images

Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe says his injured ankle is the most painful injury he has ever experienced. But he played through it in the AFC Champioinship Game, and there’s no way he’s missing the Super Bowl.

“Yes, I’m playing if I played last week,” Ellerbe said at Super Bowl Media Day. “That was the most pain I’ve played in in my entire career. I’m definitely playing in this game. I feel a lot better and it’s the Super Bowl, so I’m not sitting out. I got a cortisone shot. I’m going to stop telling people I got an epidural because that’s what pregnant people get. Never again. I don’t want to go through that again. I hate needles.”

But Ellerbe reiterated that there’s no chance he’ll sit out on Sunday.

“Oh yeah, I’m definitely playing. If I could handle it last week, I can handle it this week,” Ellerbe said.

Despite the ankle injury, Ellerbe has played very well in the playoffs, with 23 total tackles, two pass deflections and an interception. Ellerbe becomes an unrestricted free agent in March, and by playing well through pain, Ellerbe is making himself a lot of money.

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Absence of failed drug tests doesn’t exonerate Ray Lewis from IGF-1 use

350x-2 Reuters

The obvious response to the allegation that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis used a deer-antler extract containing the banned substance IGF-1 is that Ray Lewis has never failed a drug test.

“Every test I’ve ever took in the NFL?  There’s never been a question if I’ve even thought about using anything,” Lewis proclaimed Tuesday.

The team said the same thing.  “Ray has been randomly tested for banned substances and has never failed a test.  He has never been notified of a failed test,” declared the Ravens.

But here’s the thing.  The NFL tells PFT that IGF-1 can be detected only through blood testing.  And there’s currently no blood testing for IGF-1.

So passing a drug test has nothing to do with the question of whether someone was or is using IGF-1.  It’s no different than a player responding to allegations of HGH use by declaring that he’s never failed a drug test, since there still is no testing in place for HGH.

Thus, absent an admission from Lewis or other conclusive evidence of IGF-1 use, there’s no way this thing will ever go anywhere.

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Michael Oher is tired of “The Blind Side”

Michael Oher AP

Ravens tackle Michael Oher is probably the NFL’s most famous lineman: If you go to a Super Bowl party on Sunday, there’s a good chance that there will be someone there who doesn’t really follow football, but knows who Oher is. That’s because Oher’s life story was told in the bestselling book and hit movie The Blind Side.

But Oher could do without all the publicity that Hollywood gave him.

“I’m tired of the movie. I’m here to play football,” Oher said when asked about it at Super Bowl Media Day.

Oher wasn’t thrilled with his portrayal in the movie, particularly scenes depicting him not knowing what he was doing at his first football practice. But Oher does say that the movie accurately portrayed the love he has for his adoptive family.

“I’ve got them coming to the game,” Oher said. “They’re still my family.”

So that part of the movie is real. The part about Oher needing Sandra Bullock to show him how to block is Hollywood.

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Pollard would prefer his son didn’t play, but wouldn’t stop him

Bernard Pollard AP

Maybe Ravens safety Bernard Pollard is hoping he’s prophetic.

After saying earlier this week that he wasn’t sure the NFL would even exist in 30 years, he said Tuesday he’d prefer his his son to not play football.

At the same time, one of the league’s hardest hitters knows that’s only his call for so long.

“My whole stance right now, this is my outlet, I would let him play the game,” Pollard said. “ For us as fathers and mothers, we want our kids to have better than what we had, so that comes down to us setting up things later on in life and kind of prepping them as they grow. If he’s going to want to play, then I would let him play. I don’t want him to, but I would let him play, so he’s starting to see that he can kick the ball and everything else. It’s just hard; my son’s 4 years old. He’s seeing now, he wants to throw the ball around, he wants to be tackled, he wants to do all those things, so I see that. I see it in him.

“That’s one of the things that’s kind of hard to watch, and we talk about it all the time, but you know, it sucks because, I don’t ever want to see my son [get hurt], and I know concussions happen, but just to see him go through it, the daily grind and the aches and the pains of the body and young injuries, I don’t want to see my son go through that.”

At the same time, Pollard doesn’t exactly play the way that would set an example for his son.

But he said the physical pain also comes with a gain, as the benefits of the sport go beyond the more comfortable environment the money can provide.

“Well, I think it’s one of those things where it teaches you discipline, it teaches you responsibility, because you’re not, it’s no longer about you. It’s about high school, college, however many guys are on the team, and it’s about all of them,” Pollard said. “You have to think about them before you want to make certain decisions, coaches that you come across in pee wee, metro, middle school, high school, college, you know it’s just about those relationships, and for me, it’s about me, you know, that I have to be more responsible. I have to be disciplined as a man, as a father and as a husband, you know, and I think so many people, the game of football, you get a small window to play this game.

“Life is so much bigger than this, and we as players and coaches and media, we make this game harder than what it is. It’s still a game. It really is. It’s still a game, you know. We are men, and life is so much greater than this.”

But his greater responsibility is to his family, and though Pollard has been steadfast about his own play, his hesitance to subject his flesh and blood to it is telling.

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S.W.A.T.S. owner wants to go exclusive with one NFL team

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day Getty Images

Deer antler extract became an unlikely player in Super Bowl week on Tuesday with a Sports Illustrated article alleging Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis contacted a company that sells it called S.W.A.T.S. about the product after tearing his triceps this season.

The extract contains IGF-1, which is on the NFL’s list of banned substances, and Lewis denied using the extract at Media Day on Tuesday. Mitch Ross, one of the owners of the company, was a guest on Bull & Fox on 92.3 in Cleveland Tuesday and reiterated much of what he said in the SI piece. He’s known Lewis for many years, first meeting him through current Bengals assistant Hue Jackson, and gave him the products asking only that Lewis credit S.W.A.T.S. with helping him when he made his return. Ross said he didn’t know why Lewis didn’t do that on Tuesday, although he does admit to using products from the company in the SI article.

After giving a lengthy explanation of what IGF-1 does and why he believes his company has been unfairly targeted by the NFL. Ross, who is pitching a lot more than just the deer antler extract, also said that he wants to market his products — presumably the ones that haven’t been banned by the league — to one team exclusively to prove that they provide an edge by keeping players healthier than the opposition.

It seems like an unlikely proposition, although Ross’s purported client list show that missing the league’s stamp of approval isn’t hurting the company all that much.

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Moss admits he doesn’t like his role, but not divisive about it

Randy Moss AP

We mentioned earlier today that 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss declared himself the best wideout in the history of the game.

You’ll likely see much more about him in the coming days, in many outlets, because he was so open and forthcoming and illuminating about many topics during his appearance at Media Day.

When Moss is on, he’s extremely interesting, he just chooses not to be on often.

But among the gems today was a candid admission that he didn’t particularly care for the way the 49ers used him this year.

In the past, it could have been a Keyshawn-level “Just Give Me the Damn Ball” routine, but Moss said it so matter-of-factly it was easy to miss.

“I don’t like my role; I don’t,” he said. “I like to be out there playing football. One thing that I’ve always had to really understand was being a decoy. It was put to me, Coach Dennis Green just said, ‘Even though the football is not in your hand, you’re still out there dictating how the defense is playing the offense.’ It took me awhile to really understand where he was coming from. Later on and now in my career, I understand that my presence out on the field, I don’t always have to touch the ball to be able to help the offense score touchdowns.

“Like I said, I don’t really like that, but it’s something that I’m used to. I have to grow to understand and grow to like it. I’ve always been a team player. I’ve never been about self. Anything that is going to push our team to victory and hopefully win a Super Bowl, I’m willing to do.”

No, that was Moss, who hasn’t always been accused to giving freely of himself for the greater good.

But 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Moss had been nothing but professional.

“He’s been great,” Roman said. “I think he’s a great team player, and a mentor for all the guys, really.”

His love of competition has never been in doubt. Moss joked about past arguments, even fights, he’s had with coaches and players. But his role with the 49ers, as much as he might not like it, remains a valuable one, as Roman insisted Moss could still “get behind a defense in a hurry.”

“When I hear people talk about how talented I am and how easy I make it look, I can honestly tell you people that it’s very hard work,” Moss said. “I work out five times a week. I put the work in and for me to be able to go out there and have results it something I am proud of. It’s not always the individual results that I’m proud of. For me to be able to talk to a Michael Crabtree or talk to a Frank Gore or Percy Harvin and for them to go out there and have a good game that week, that’s something I can be proud of. That’s just me giving back to the NFL.

“I’ve always said, I don’t like what the NFL does for me because I’m very blessed. My family is blessed. I’ve always been the type of person to know what I can do to make the League better. At this point in my career, if I’m able to be vocal, to share a little knowledge and also to go out there and play, if that’s what it takes to win a championship, then I’m willing to do that. I’ve always been that way.”

Maybe so, but he hasn’t been quite the way he was Tuesday too often, or the perception of his career would likely be very different.

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Kaepernick’s college coach: “He could’ve been a great free safety”

Colin Kaepernick Pic Getty Images

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is one of the biggest stars of this year’s Super Bowl, but he didn’t always look headed for that. Kaepernick’s college coach at Nevada, Chris Ault, contemplated moving Kaepernick to defense.

“I thought to myself, ‘If he can’t play quarterback, he looks like he’s a good enough athlete that he could play free safety or wide receiver,” Ault told FOX Sports Radio, via “At that time, Kap was maybe 6-foot-4, about 183 pounds. Built like a fork.

“He could’ve been a great free safety, without question. And you know, his freshman redshirt year, he was okay. There was nothing that told us he was a special athlete. He threw sidearm a little bit. He’s a great pitcher and he had that little pitching motion from the sidearm. We had to try to push that thing up.

“So he was just a really good athlete. But boy, would he have been a heck of a free safety.”

Good thing Ault never tried.

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Joe Staley: I cried my eyes out when Brian Kelly moved me to the line

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day Getty Images

San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley is glad to be a starting offensive lineman in the Super Bowl. But he was devastated when he first became an offensive lineman in college.

Staley said at Super Bowl Media Day that after playing wide receiver in high school and beginning his college career at Central Michigan as a tight end, he figured he’d be a skill position player forever. Then a new coach, Brian Kelly, came along and informed Staley that he was being moved to the offensive line. Staley didn’t take it well.

“I started out as a skinny 200 pound wide receiver coming out of high school,” Staley said. “I was a sprinter and all of that stuff. I was really fast. I ran a 21 in the 200. Then I got fat. I went to college. Brian Kelly came in my sophomore year. Played tight end my freshman year in college. Brian Kelly came in and said ‘We do not use tight ends in our offense but we want to keep you on the field in some way. We are going to move you to tackle.’ I cried my eyes out. I am not afraid to admit it. Almost transferred but then stayed, gained weight, busted my butt and got drafted.”

It worked out for Staley, who ended up being a first-round pick of the 49ers. And Kelly, who is now the head coach at Notre Dame, has shown that he knows what he’s doing. But when Kelly first moved Staley, that wasn’t a move that Staley appreciated.

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Ray Lewis denies using banned substance

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day Getty Images

Hours after Sports Illustrated reported that Ray Lewis has been given deer antler extract, which contains a substance banned by the NFL as a performance-enhancer, Lewis insisted that that’s not the case.

Lewis said at Super Bowl Media Day that he never took deer antler extract and that the Sports Illustrated report is “stupidity.” Lewis also said he has been tested many times during his NFL career and has never tested positive.

“Every test I’ve ever took in the NFL? There’s never been a question if I’ve even thought about using anything,” Lewis said.

But Sports Illustrated reports that a company called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids, or SWATS, did give Lewis the deer antler extract, which contains the banned substance IGF-1. According to Sports Illustrated, many athletes are using the substance, even though it’s banned in all major sports. A high-profile story like this may lead the NFL to look into the use of supplements containing IGF-1, but any league action would take months, and Lewis’s last game is just five days away.

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