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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-02-28


Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-02-28


Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-02-28
For the first time in his 13-year career, Ray Lewis is an unrestricted free agent.


But where will the 10-time Pro Bowl linebacker end up?

While there is talk that Lewis could bolt for the Dallas Cowboys or New York Jets, the Ravens believe they could still retain the face of their franchise.

"Economics are always a part of it," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I don't know what the other part of it would be. He has a very good relationship with Coach Harbaugh. You know of his relationship with (owner) Steve (Bisciotti), and he and I have a very good relationship.

"And I think he realizes where our football team is at right now, in that we have Joe (Flacco), and that we can contend in our division and in our conference to try to get him to another Super Bowl. So those things are in place. But economics always play a big part of it."

Lewis had one of his better seasons in recent years, finishing with 117 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

The Ravens had talked in the offseason about limiting his snaps in passing situations to save the wear-and-tear on his body. But Lewis remained an every-down linebacker and played a full 16 games for the first time since 2003 (when he won his second NFL defensive player of the year award).

Ravens officials have said Lewis' value to the Ravens goes beyond tackles and sacks.

Asked whether Lewis had more value in Baltimore than anywhere else, Newsome said, "We like to think that."

"What you all do not get the opportunity to see like I do on a daily basis is how he interacts with the young players. He's a great mentor not only to the other young linebackers, but some of the young offensive players. .... So he has value that goes beyond his production on the football field."

Since the Ravens' season ended with a loss in the AFC championship game, Lewis has talked about the possibilities of playing for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets. Over the past year, the Ravens have repeatedly talked about their intentions on keeping Lewis.

The Ravens made a hard push to keep linebacker Bart Scott, but he chose to follow former Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to the Jets for a $48 million contract.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 28, 2009

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