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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-02-13

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-02-13

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-02-13
The Ravens are expected to enter serious negotiations with linebacker Ray Lewis during next week's NFL scouting combine.

A 10-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, Lewis would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of February if the Ravens don't sign him to a new contract or use the franchise tag on him.

"Ray Lewis is going to be a guy we're going to pay a lot of money to in order to keep," Harbaugh told USA Today. "Steve (Bisciotti, team owner) said he thinks we'll be willing to pay more than anybody else.

"I know Ray has to take a look around. But I'm definitely convinced that Ray wants to finish his career a Baltimore Raven. And there's no question the Baltimore Ravens definitely want Ray."

At the end of the season, both Bisciotti and linebacker Terrell Suggs brought up the possibility that Lewis might take less money to stay with the team.

But Lewis said there would be no discounts.

"I don't play less," Lewis told the NFL Network. "If you don't play less, you don't take less. That's just life."

A week before at the Super Bowl, Lewis told reporters that his thoughts heading into free agency were "nobody else's business" and his decision was "between me and God."

Lewis, though, has become more candid, acknowledging that he would be open to joining the Cowboys and Jets if he didn't remain with the Ravens.

When Lewis was asked about the Cowboys' dysfunctional locker room, Lewis explained that the team needed "one general" and that needs to come from a player and not a coach.

"I don't see all of that outside stuff that they're talking about what goes on in Dallas," Lewis said. "I see Dallas as a great opportunity. It's always been America's Team. It's just a great place to play football."

Lewis surprisingly said he wouldn't have a problem playing with Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens.

It was only in 2004 when Owens spurned a trade to the Ravens which caused a feud between him and Lewis. Not only did Owens later mock Lewis' pre-game dance after scoring a touchdown, he then brought up the murder charge brought up against the middle linebacker in 2000 to show he wasn't "the bad guy."

But it seems like Lewis has either forgiven or forgotten.

"I can definitely play with T.O," Lewis said. "I think T.O. is a great, great person. I just love him. I love his work ethic. I love everything about him. So, playing with T.O. is easy."

Another team that would draw Lewis' interest is the Jets.

Lewis said it's a match because of his relationship with Rex Ryan, his former defensive coordinator who recently became head coach of the Jets.

"That opportunity by itself looks attractive," he said. "That just sounds right. It's like, 'Wow, if something does happen where you're not back in Baltimore, the Jets wouldn't be bad.'"

Lewis said he hasn't talked to Ryan about the chances because he can't. Under NFL rules, teams can't speak to players currently under contract with other teams.

Because Lewis' deal doesn't officially expire until the end of the month, conversations with other teams would be tampering.

Lewis, however, said he liked "the upside" with the Jets.

"You go take a young Jets team that has a lot of talent across the board," Lewis said. "You wiggle 52 into that equation, then that team goes from just being OK to 'let's go win this.' That scenario is attractive."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 13, 2009

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