NEW ORLEANS -- Mitch Ross, the supplement maker who allegedly provided Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis with deer antler spray, has stolen much of the spotlight during the week leading up to Super Bowl XVLII.
Ross even showed up to the Super Bowl media center Friday to hold an hour-long news conference on the sidewalk to apologize for bringing up Lewis' name while drumming up publicity, defending his product and also dropping names of alleged users.
All the while, former St. Louis Rams linebacker David Vobora has watched and seethed.
While Ross defends the credibility of his S.W.A.T.S. products that he claims are steroid-free, Vobora knows otherwise. He has sued Ross and won a $5.4 million judgment against him after Vobora tested positive in an NFL drug test a few years back -- believing he was taking something clean.
If anyone has any questions about Vobora's views on Ross, he left no doubt in an interview with NFL.com.
"There's not a lot positive about this guy," Vobora said. "It's sickening to me. He'll take any press, and what people would call bad press, he'll use it to try to push his name. Mitch Ross knew exactly what he's doing. He may not be book smart, but he's a hustler, a felon, a snake-oil salesman. It's unfortunate that he had to bring Ray Lewis into this at this point, take all the shine away from him and try to sideswipe him."
Asked for his reaction after he saw the Sports Illustrated story alleging Lewis' implication in using deer antler substance, Vobora said, "It this really happening again?"
In Vobora's case, he won $5.4 million from Ross in a St. Louis court. He had used "Ultimate Sports Spray" in June 2009 while believing it was steroid-free. Turns out, it contained methyltestosterone, which is banned.
Vobora told NFL.com he had called the league hotline for banned substances to clear the spray, and he was told there was nothing in it that would trigger a positive test. As always, the league warned him that players need to be responsible for what goes into their body.
Ultimately, Vobora failed the test. He blamed Ross for out-sourcing the product and not maintaining control over what was in it, saying, "He's proven a lack of quality control." In an attempt to clear his name, Vobora took the spray to an independent lab, which determined it was tainted.
Ross blamed someone else. He also has skirted his payment responsibilities, though Vobora is still fighting to get paid, with another hearing coming up in weeks.
"It's unfortunate, and I can say so much about Mitch Ross' character," Vobora said. "It was proven in federal court, and he has found a way to slide out the back door (and avoid paying). Shoot, I hope he's successful. Because it will all get turned back to me."
Vobora gave Ross a chance to escape it all. All Ross needed to do was write a letter apologizing and Vobora would have dropped the lawsuit. Ross did not.
It left Vobora in a position to try to spread word of what he believes Ross really is like.
"I don't care how much money I spend, I'm going to do this guy down," Vobora said. "And here is what he's doing to Ray Lewis. It shows his true character."
Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.