In TV interview, R. Lewis fails to endorse Billick

Ravens

April 21, 2006|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

Ray Lewis' problem with the Ravens might extend beyond his contract situation.

In his first local interview in seven months, the former All-Pro middle linebacker cast a cloud over his relationship with Brian Billick when he declined to give the coach a vote of confidence.

Asked Wednesday by Comcast SportsNet whether keeping Billick was a move in the right direction, the Ravens middle linebacker paused briefly before saying, "No comment."

Billick was retained by owner Steve Bisciotti just before the Ravens concluded a 6-10 season, their worst in seven years under Billick. He has two years remaining on his contract.

Asked about Lewis' cryptic response, Billick said he can't control what people will conclude about those remarks.

"Where I draw my conclusions from is my direct interaction with the athlete," Billick said. "I have no problems with what was said. I'm excited about where Ray is right now. I can't answer for Ray. You need to put that question to him."

In an ESPN interview yesterday, Lewis criticized the team for not providing him with two big defensive tackles that could shield him from blockers.

In 2000, Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa - both of whom weighed over 350 pounds - allowed Lewis to run unscathed to make tackles. Now, Lewis has Kelly Gregg and Justin Bannan - both of whom weigh just over 300 pounds - in front of him.

"The thing that frustrates a person like myself is if you don't give me the proper tools to be dominant," Lewis said. "That hasn't been brought up to say, `I have the Michael Jordan of football on my team but I'm going to take Scottie Pippen away from him.'"

Lewis told ESPN that he has never told Ravens officials that he wanted to be traded.

"The issue is: Are you going to let me do what I do?" Lewis said after mentioning he sees other linebackers having the opportunity to run free to make the tackle. "And if not, let me go."

Lewis declined interview requests from The Sun.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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