J. Lewis slowed in bid to return to Ravens

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Probation issues delay comeback until next week

top pick Clayton still out

Notebook

August 04, 2005|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Jamal Lewis' long-awaited return to the Ravens has hit a delay.

The arrival of the former All-Pro running back has been pushed into next week because final details of his probation have not been worked out. Lewis, who pleaded guilty to a federal drug conspiracy charge, was released from an Atlanta halfway house Tuesday and was expected to report to the Ravens today.

According to his lawyer, Jerome Froelich, Lewis has to meet with his probation officer in Atlanta upon his release. Until that matter is resolved, Lewis can't leave the Northern District of Georgia.

"I'm going to have to bite my tongue on this one," coach Brian Billick said. "We'll continue to deal with the process that he has to deal with. It seems to be ever-changing at times. So, we'll deal with it as it comes."

This marks Lewis' second setback with the U.S. Probation Office. In June, his request to attend a Ravens minicamp was rejected.

Now, the Ravens have to adjust their timetable in re-acclimating him to football. A team spokesman said it appears Lewis will come to training camp on Monday, "but that could change as well."

"When he's allowed to show up here, we'll go forward," Billick said. "I'm not completely 100 percent certain when that is right now. God and the U.S. government only know."

Clayton update

There are differing opinions on how close the Ravens are to signing first-round pick Mark Clayton. A Ravens official said the rookie receiver could sign today, but a league source with knowledge of the talks didn't seem as optimistic.

Clayton has missed the first three days of training camp, which has increasingly tested Billick's patience.

"For a rookie not to be here under the present circumstances shows a complete lack of understanding of what it takes to compete in this league," Billick said.

One of nine unsigned first-round picks, Clayton was expected to compete with Clarence Moore for a starting job.

"It's going to take a lot to displace Clarence from that position," Billick said. "It's certainly not going to happen from somebody who's not even here."

Heap's extra work

Todd Heap caught passes after practice to get his footwork down in his route-running and his timing down with his quarterbacks.

The two-time Pro Bowl tight end is on the physically-unable-to-perform list (meaning he can't participate in practice) after undergoing shoulder and ankle surgeries this offseason. The tentative plan is for Heap to play in the second preseason game (Aug. 20).

"I'm just concerned about getting the strength back in my shoulder," Heap said. "I know my ankle is going to be able to handle it. I've spent a lot of time working on it and running on it."

Thomas wants Boulware

Strong-side linebacker Adalius Thomas would endorse the Ravens re-signing Peter Boulware. If the team can get Boulware to replace the injured Dan Cody, Thomas would split time at linebacker with Boulware, freeing him to play more on special teams (for which he made the Pro Bowl in 2003).

"If he doesn't come here, I hope he gets a contract somewhere else," Thomas said. "If he can come back here and help us out, I'm all for it. He is a Pro Bowl linebacker and he still can play."

End zone

After giving up six interceptions Tuesday, the offense held its own in drills yesterday. "The offense clearly had the upper hand today," Billick said. "It was good to see coming back from [Tuesday] when we clearly weren't as sharp." ... The Ravens, who had planned to move their afternoon practice to their Owings Mills indoor facility to avoid the heat, decided to switch their workout back to McDaniel College. "The weather is not as severe as predicted," Billick said. ... Long snapper Drew Caylor and cornerback Cash Mouton were injury-waived by the Ravens.

Sun staff writer Kim Phelan contributed to this article.

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