J. Lewis takes it slow on first day of camp

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Running back's left hip flexor injury not considered serious

Notebook

July 29, 2006|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

Starting running back Jamal Lewis was one of two players placed on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list as the Ravens opened training camp yesterday at McDaniel College in Westminster.

Lewis, 26, said he tweaked his left hip flexor during an offseason workout about two weeks ago. Lewis said the injury wasn't significant, but he did not want to risk exacerbating the ligament injury until meeting with Bill Tessendorf, the team's vice president of medical services.

"I felt pretty good today," Lewis said. "I didn't want to do anything in the last two weeks to strain it or pull it. I just kind of did some cardio and stayed easy until I got here with Bill T. and let him put me through a workout and just see where it's at."

While the sight of the 5-foot-11, 245-pound Lewis participating in individual drills separated from the rest of the team might have startled fans, both Lewis and coach Brian Billick called the decision to sideline Lewis precautionary.

Billick, who has named Lewis the featured running back despite the free-agent signing of former Denver Bronco Mike Anderson, said Lewis could return to the field as early as today.

"It's the trainer's call," Billick said. "The idea is to make sure we got a firm understanding of where he is right now physically before we put him in that situation."

The franchise is leaning on Lewis to return to the form that enabled him to rush for 2,066 yards - second most in NFL history - in 2003. Last season, he had 906 yards, and the running game was 21st in the NFL.

Lewis, who underwent ankle surgery and spent four months in federal prison before last season, had no such distractions this time.

"I feel good, fresh," he said. "I had a better offseason than I did last year. I worked out hard, and I'm just ready to get back to it."

Wide receiver Clarence Moore, who is recovering from surgery in June to repair a sports hernia, was also placed on the PUP list.

Better beginning

Linebacker Dan Cody's first day of training camp went off without a hitch.

The lack of news was a refreshing departure from Aug. 1, when Cody, the Ravens' second-round selection (53rd overall) in last year's draft, sprained the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on the first day and missed his rookie season.

Asked whether he paused at any moment yesterday to recall that moment, Cody said: "I actually hadn't thought about it all day until you brought it up. No, really, it's something that I haven't thought about that much at all. ... It's good just to be a part of it again."

Cody spent much of the 11-on-11 drills with the second-team defense and had more time at defensive end position than linebacker. Cody could find more playing time if the Ravens use a 4-4-3 alignment.

"Anytime they're thinking about including you in the defense a little more, it's exciting," he said. " ... I'm just working my way up there."

Catching up

Wide receiver Demetrius Williams got his first action with the entire team since being drafted in the fourth round, 111th overall, out of Oregon.

An NFL rule that restricts a player to one minicamp while his school is still in session forced Williams to miss the rest of the minicamps. Williams said he worked out on his own and tried to stay in shape, but acknowledged that his biggest obstacle is absorbing the playbook.

"I feel like I'm a little bit behind as far as the playbook goes," Williams said. "But it just takes time for me. I just have to catch up as much as I possibly can. It's going to be difficult, but I'm up for the challenge."

Williams said he is poring over the playbook. "Instead of going to sleep an hour early, I've got to study a little longer," he said. "It's a little rough, but it's worth it."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

RAVENS TRAINING CAMP

Directions from Baltimore via Interstate 695

Take I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) to Exit 19 onto I-795 (Northwest Expressway) and continue to its end. Follow signs to Westminster via Route 140 West to Route 31 South; at blinking traffic light, turn left (Route 31); at first traffic light, turn left onto Main Street. Go up the hill; the entrance to the Ravens' visitors' parking is on your left. Follow the drive around Bair Stadium and watch for signs.

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