Is Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis a larger-than-life character? (Nick Wass/AP)

Is Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis a larger-than-life character? (Nick Wass/AP)

If you were writing a novel set in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, would you dare include in the resume of the game’s most charismatic player a double murder charge? How about an entire ensemble of party clothing, including a white suit and a mink coat, that’s mysteriously gone missing, perhaps because everything has been spattered with the blood of one or two guys who’d been stabbed to death at…wait for it, a Super Bowl party?

Wouldn’t you be afraid your editor would say, “Hey, Bud, I know it’s fiction, but give us a break here. What are you gonna do next, have the guy quote the Bible?”

Okay, so you back off a little, but then you need something else. You come up with deer antler spray.

“What?” the editor could be forgiven for saying.

But you’ve done your homework, and you’ve read about these guys in a company called Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, or SWATS, who’ve sold deer antler spray to athletes, and they say one of them is the guy in the Super Bowl. The marketers claim that because deer antlers grow really quickly, anyone spraying a little essence of deer antler under the tongue will receive the same benefits they’d have gotten from human growth hormone.

“Wouldn’t the guy just end up with a big tongue?” the editor asks. “Or antlers?”

“That’s not the way it works,” you say, but the editor is already looking at his Blackberry calendar for a good reason to tell you there’s somewhere else he needs to be.

Desperate, you say, “Um, he dances, too.”

“He what?”

“He dances. He’s got this dance he does to inspire his teammates. And he cries at the national anthem. And that double murder charge goes away, but he pleads guilty to obstruction of justice. And he never misses a game.”

“Okay,” the editor says. “And this is still the guy who ditched the white suit and the mink coat where nobody ever found them, and he does deer venom.”

“Antler spray,” you tell him.

“Sorry. Antler spray. Only he denies it, right?”

“Of course he does. He’s never tested positive for anything. Just like Lance Armstrong.”

“They have a test for antler spray?” the editor asks.

You sense an opening.

“I can write it either way.”

Now the editor raises one eyebrow. “Call me after the Super Bowl,” he says. “Let’s see how it turns out.”