R. Lewis dismisses again shoulder on injury report

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Wearing harness, he says, `It's just general soreness'

Pro Football

December 18, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

For the second straight week, Ray Lewis is listed as questionable on the Ravens' injury report, bringing about questions on the health of the linebacker's right shoulder.

Lewis had to wear a harness on the shoulder in the Ravens' 20-12 loss to the Oakland Raiders, but he led the team with eight tackles. It is not the same shoulder Lewis had season-ending surgery on last year.

There was talk, though, about having Lewis sit against the Raiders, according to team sources.

"My shoulder is going to be what it is going to be," Lewis said. "It's feeling pretty good. It's a regular-season injury; I didn't tear nothing or anything like that. It's just general soreness. And it's not the one that I had surgery on, it's the opposite."

As to whether the harness hindered his play, Lewis was noncommittal.

"It does what it does," Lewis said. "I don't want to talk about my shoulder. It's going to be what it's going to be."

Sunday's game in Cleveland marks Lewis' return to the site where he suffered his shoulder injury last year in the fourth game of the season, a 26-21 Ravens' victory.

Though it was apparent Lewis' shoulder was severely hurt last year, the Ravens do not fear this injury to be that significant and expect him to play against Cleveland.

"Ray's fine," coach Brian Billick said. "It's the end of the season, he's a linebacker that's taken a lot of hits. The shoulder, structurally, is fine.

"It's sore, and he played magnificently the other day, but like a great running back, you've got to approach the last weeks of the season carefully as to how much pounding you want to put on your guy. That's why we're in shorts [during practice]."

Edwin Mulitalo (groin), Alan Ricard (ankle) and Chester Taylor (leg) are questionable but expected to play against the Browns.

Slaughter signed

The Ravens signed T.J. Slaughter to a two-year contract yesterday and are hoping the fourth-year linebacker does not play a snap this season.

"He's a veteran linebacker that hopefully never takes the field," Billick said of the injury precaution move.

"Whatever they want me to do," Slaughter said. "If they need me now, I want to be ready to go now. But this team is already established, and I'm an outsider coming in. If I don't get a chance this year, hopefully I'll get a chance next year."

Slaughter took the roster spot of Adalius Thomas, who was placed on injured reserved. Slaughter was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 29, a day after he was arrested for allegedly waving a gun at two teenagers (charges that were eventually dropped).

The Green Bay Packers signed him two weeks later, but he was released Dec. 9.

Pro Bowl pondering

The league is expected to announce the Pro Bowl rosters today, and though he has had as good a season as any cornerback in the league, Chris McAlister believes he will be overlooked again.

With Lewis and Jonathan Ogden as locks and Jamal Lewis, Ed Reed, Peter Boulware and Todd Heap as highly probable picks, whether McAlister makes it holds the most intrigue on the Ravens' roster.

"I probably won't make it," McAlister said. "But if I do, that's great. I'll be extremely happy and thankful. But at the same time, I'm not going to sit here and think about it because I've been thinking about it for three years in a row. I'm going to sleep very good [last night]."

Liquid assets

The Ravens moved practice to the stadium yesterday and had to battle the rain/snow mixture through much of it.

"I can't stop it," Billick said. "Our indoor facility is not done, but you know what, it's probably going to be like this on Sunday, and I hope it [ticks] the players off a little bit because they need to be a little [ticked] off."

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