J. Lewis: Coaches forced to use him

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

With Taylor, Smith out vs. Bengals, `who are you going to give ball to?'

Ravens Notebook

December 01, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

In a passive-aggressive tone that is now his midweek signature, Ravens running back Jamal Lewis discussed his usage as the primary back in Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

While pleased with the 23 carries, Lewis could not help but point out the real reason why he felt he got the chance - and it has nothing to do with the health of his formerly hurt ankle. Backups Chester Taylor and Musa Smith were out with injuries.

"It's not whether I'm back," said Lewis, who rushed for 113 yards against Cincinnati. "I've been back. I've been healthy. I've been ready to go. But I think [the coaches] were just kind of forced into a situation to get me the football and let me do what I do best, and that's run the football."

The word "forced" drew attention.

"I'm saying we didn't have any other tailbacks," Lewis said. "So you can take what you want to take, but we didn't have any other tailbacks. Who are you going to give the ball to?"

In his weekly meetings with the media this season, Lewis has made a point of being critical of management without being downright disrespectful. He has previously discussed his lack of carries, a worry that an injury might hurt his upcoming free agency and the disappointment over what he felt was a broken promise by the Ravens to negotiate a contract extension before the start of the season.

Against the Bengals, Lewis had to serve as the every-down back for one of the few times in his career, staying in the game on third downs and catching five passes for 36 yards.

He admits he has no idea if he will get the same work Sunday. Lewis' role is as much a mystery for him as to what the next thing that will come out of his mouth is for everyone else.

"The way this year is going, anything may happen," Lewis said. "I just go out there and take what they give me. I run the football when they give it to me and block when I have to block for Kyle [Boller]. That's the only thing I'm in control of."

Running back White returns

The Ravens re-signed running back Jamel White yesterday. White takes the roster spot of Smith (lower leg), who was placed on injured reserve.

White played six games last season with the Ravens, rushing 14 times for 62 yards. He was signed then after Smith broke his leg against the Dallas Cowboys.

"It helps a lot because I know the players," White said. "I don't have to come in here and be quiet all the time and no one knows you and you have to sit in a corner. That's a plus for me."

White, in his sixth season out of South Dakota, began the season with the Detroit Lions but was waived after an injury before the second game.

End zone

Fullback Justin Green will not play Sunday. Green had a pin inserted in his broken wrist and will be out two weeks.

Orlando Brown (back), Ray Lewis (thigh), Chris McAlister (thigh), Ed Reed (ankle), Chester Taylor (foot) and Keydrick Vincent (thigh) are questionable. Todd Heap (foot) and B.J. Sams (lower leg) are probable. Reed practiced, but Lewis did not. ... Linebacker Tommy Polley's 79 tackles surpassed Lewis' 77 and lead the team. It is the first time since 2002 anyone other than Lewis has led the Ravens in tackles.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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