J. Lewis gives his ankle its first test

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Back runs relatively well in return after surgery

Billick scraps two-a-days

Pro Football

August 11, 2005|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Running back Jamal Lewis made his return to the Ravens' practice field yesterday, taking the second snap in team drills and testing his surgically repaired ankle by sprinting out on a pass pattern.

The ball did not come his way, but Lewis did take a handoff on his next snap and run between the guard and tackle for a short gain (it was a non-tackling practice). In all, Lewis took about five snaps, mostly with the second team in the Ravens' two-hour session. Despite a slight limp, the sleek-looking Lewis - who has dropped 5 pounds this offseason - ran relatively well and seemed to be in shape.

"It was cool," Lewis said. "I didn't do much. It was good to get back in and learn the new plays, get a feel for the offense with the new guys in there and everything."

There was a concern that Lewis would have to spend a few days on the physically-unable-to-perform list because of the ankle, but he took the field about 10 minutes before practice with a large ovation from the crowd.

Lewis is not expected to see much action in Saturday's preseason opener in Atlanta against the Falcons.

"He looked fresh, which you would expect after not being here the first week," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We'll just continue to push him through it, put him through his paces and see if we can get him to that next level of conditioning."

One is enough

For the first time under Billick, the Ravens have scrapped two-a-day practices midway through training camp.

The team held one practice yesterday and will hold just one today, albeit in the middle of the afternoon.

The team will hold two practices per day again starting Monday.

"It was long and hot and extended those second-level guys like we will on game day," Billick said. "So we got a lot done.

"It's a different sequence. But this is a Saturday preseason game. To stay two-a-days through a whole week in Week 2, that's a bit too much. So this format suits our purpose real well right now."

Subbing for R. Lewis

McDonough (Waldorf) graduate Jim Nelson filled in at linebacker for Ray Lewis, who sat out yesterday's practice for a day of rest.

Nelson made all the defensive calls, staring into the eyes of four Pro Bowl players in the huddle (Samari Rolle, Chris McAlister, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed).

"Instead of being overwhelmed with the guys because there's such a high standard, I just pretend I'm running with the scout team and try and relax," Nelson said.

Nelson, who is a special teams ace, signed with the Ravens in April after two years with the Indianapolis Colts.

Lewis is expected to return today. "He had a good camp and looks good and fresh," Billick said of Lewis. "It's a good day to sit back and let the younger guys do it."

End zone

The Ravens signed third-year linebacker Steve Josue, who played sparingly with the Green Bay Packers. ... The Ravens cut receiver Derek Abney to make room for Jamal Lewis. Abney, a former seventh-round pick, spent all of last season on injured reserved (shoulder). ... The Ravens had their first fight of training camp, with linebacker Mike Smith and safety Chris Kelley (Seneca Valley and Maryland) squaring off during special teams practice. Neither player was hurt, but both drew warnings from Billick.

Sun staff writers Jamison Hensley and Kim Phelan contributed to this article.

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