It's not so easy with deer-antler spray and pills. Sports Illustrated said Lewis hoped to repair a torn right triceps by seeking help from an Alabama company that says its products contain a banned substance connected to human growth hormone. Lewis denied taking anything illegal, but danced around any connection to the company that also sold its product to golfer Vijay Singh and others.
"To entertain foolishness like that from cowards who come from the outside and try to destroy what we've built, like I just said, it's sad to even entertain it on this type of stage, because this type of stage is what dreams are made of," Lewis said. "This is what kids dream their whole lives, to be up here on these days, stepping in the NFL and saying that I am on the biggest stage ever."
If it all sounds a bit wacky, it's because it is. What, after all, could be goofier than deer-antler spray and magic chips except maybe the men who believe in them.
But after the Lance Armstrong confession it's hard to believe anything athletes say anymore, or that the NFL is somehow free of PEDs simply because there hasn't been a big scandal in recent years. We don't know what anyone takes, how many tests they've passed or failed, or what they do behind closed doors to build the kind of muscles you need to play in the NFL.
Life as a football player will end for Lewis on Sunday in the Super Bowl, and if he has mixed emotions about it, so must we.
It's hard to root against one of the greatest linebackers ever, a man who has played with the intensity of 10 men for 17 years now, and a man who is a towering figure in the locker room,
After today, it's even harder to root for him.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg