Athletes have tried many creative concoctions over the years to reach a higher level of success on the field -- deer antler, anyone? -- but a key member of the Baltimore Ravens has taken it to a new level.

Running back Ray Rice got ready for the 2011 regular season by consuming a seed from Bolivia that is said to help keep your digestive system in top shape.

Ever heard of Salvia hispanica? Odds are good its other name, the chia seed, may ring a bell. The grain is the magical element that provides endless joy for owners of the Chia Pet. The Salvia hispanica seed helps give Chia Scooby-Doo, Chia Shrek, Chia Homer Simpson and Chica Obama their famous mossy hair.

A buddy of Rice, Jesse Itzler, who happens to be an investor in the chia business, convinced Rice to give the special seeds a try. At first, the Ravens star thought "they looked like bird seeds," but thanks to a big time sales pitch from Itzler, Rice's workout routine went to the birds.

Rice didn't divulge his new dietary supplement to his Baltimore teammates when when training camp started, but when told of Rice's new regimen, some Ravens players had zingers ready. "I was not aware that Ray Rice eats Chia Pets," linebacker Terrell Suggs quipped.

Suggs will really be blown away when he finds out his more famous teammate, Ray Lewis, has joined Rice by starting his day with some tasteless chia seeds. "I put them in my shake every morning," Lewis told the Journal.

The 2009 book "Born To Run" declares that the Tarahumara Indians, who were able to run hundreds of miles without shoes or rest, loved eating the chia seeds. Rice told the Journal "There's a history behind it (the seeds)."

Chia seeds are said to absorb 10 times their weight in water, and that's believed to help speed up digestion.

Whether it's the seeds or something else, Rice ran for 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns while adding 704 yards receiving and 3 scores this season. The Ravens are just a few Chia seeds away from beating Tom Brady's New England Patriots and reaching the Super Bowl.

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