Jamal Lewis will report to a halfway house in Atlanta - and not Baltimore - after his release from federal prison next Thursday, the running back's attorney said yesterday.
Ravens officials recently said there had been indications that the 2003 NFL Offensive Player of the Year could serve his two months at a halfway house in Baltimore and expressed disappointment he would not rejoin the team sooner.
By being relegated to Atlanta until Aug. 2, Lewis will finish rehabilitating his surgically repaired ankle away from the Ravens' facility, miss two full-team minicamps and report to training camp three days late.
Lewis is in his final days of a four-month sentence for pleading guilty to using a cell phone to arrange a drug deal in 2000. He will leave the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Fla., on June 2, two days ahead of his previously scheduled release date.
"We knew this was probable, but we were hopeful he could spend more time here," team spokesman Kevin Byrne said.
Jerome Froelich, Lewis' attorney, said he is unlikely to challenge the position of the U.S. Attorney's office that the running back's time at a halfway house should be served in the Atlanta area.
"I probably won't take it before the judge," Froelich said. "He [Lewis] doesn't need the publicity or the headache."
Lewis entered prison on Feb. 4, a week after having a cast removed from his right ankle. He donned a new color of uniform (institutional khaki) and a new number (55612-019).
His typical day includes waking up before dawn and beginning work at 6 a.m. in the prison tool shop, where he mainly hauls equipment. Following his shift, he focuses on getting an ankle that sidelined him for two games last season back to full strength.
Owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome along with a handful of team officials and teammates have visited Lewis. According to their reports, Lewis has resumed jogging and has his weight down to about 240 pounds, which is near his playing weight.
In 2003, Lewis rushed for the second-most rushing yards in an NFL season, when he gained 2,066 yards. But injuries and a two-game suspension from his guilty plea limited him to less than half that total (1,006 yards) last season.
Upon his release, Lewis has to perform 500 hours of community service along with his halfway house obligation.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons will determine which halfway house Lewis enters, but the attorney said he doesn't expect the bureau will tell him in advance exactly where Lewis is headed.
Froelich said he expects Lewis will be able to train. Halfway houses typically require residents to work, and football "is his job," Froelich said.
"He's in great shape, and he's got a great attitude," the attorney said.