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Ray Lewis Returned To Practice

Posted Dec 5, 2012

Ray Lewis’ return uplifted his teammates, but it is unclear whether he is ready for game action.

Some said he may never come back.

But 37-year-old Ray Lewis was back on the Ravens practice field Wednesday, just 45 days after tearing his triceps muscle.

“I feel good for him. I know that he is getting up there [in age], and he wants to play,” quarterback Joe Flacco said.

“There is not anybody out there who loves the game of football more than he does. So, when he’s not on the field with his guys, you know it hurts him.”

Lewis is not eligible to play until Dec. 16 against the Denver Broncos. Even though he’s practicing, it’s not certain that he’ll be ready by that target date.

“I don’t know that he’s ready to play in a game [right now],” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “This will be part of his rehab and we’ll see how he does. When the time comes and if we think Ray can play, we’ll let you know.”

Lewis turned the attention away from himself in a statement released by the team.

“I’m making progress and will practice some today,” Lewis said. “But the story shouldn’t be about me right now. We’re playing the Redskins Sunday, and I am not eligible to play. If I can help prepare my team in some way for that game, I will. When I know I will play in a game, or when I play in game, I will say more then.

“For right now, I am excited to be back on the field, and I do plan to play again this season. We’ll see how I progress from here.”

For now, it’s a boost of inspiration and leadership for a defense that lost to third-string Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch on Sunday. The Ravens have gone 4-2 without Lewis.

“It shows that there’s nothing that can stop a person on this team, especially a leader,” said linebacker Albert McClellan. “It gives everybody more confidence. No matter what your aches and pains are, you’ve got a guy doing that. That’s huge, that’s motivation at its finest.”

Lewis tore his right triceps on Oct. 14 against the Dallas Cowboys. When it happened, many pundits thought it could spell the end of his season, and perhaps his 17-year career.

Lewis had surgery almost immediately and was placed on the injured reserve-designated to return list. He did most of his rehab at home in Florida, but returned to team headquarters at the Under Armour Performance Center last week.

Harbaugh marveled at the work Lewis has put in to get back.

“I’m always impressed with Ray Lewis,” Harbaugh said.

“Whether he gets back soon, late or at all, what he’s done to work through the injury, the rehab he’s put himself through … I’ve had a chance to watch him out doing rehab and you watch how hard that is and how much work that is and there’s a lot of pain involved with that … it’s pretty impressive. For me, that’s where the admiration starts.”

Lewis attended the Ravens’ games in Pittsburgh and San Diego and at home against the Steelers last Sunday. But having him on the practice field and in the classroom will be another level of guidance.

“It’s big,” cornerback Corey Graham said. “Ray is the leader of this team. Everybody loves Ray, everybody is happy he’s back out there. It should bring some excitement for us.”

Ravens inside linebacker Jameel McClain wasn’t getting his hopes up too high, however, with Lewis not yet back in game condition.

“It’s Ray Lewis. Everybody knows how much it means,” he said. “What it will add up to in the long run, we don’t know that yet. But having him here is definitely a plus.”

Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III said he’s disappointed that Lewis can’t play this Sunday.

“It’s unfortunate that I don’t get the chance to play against Ray,” he said. “Hopefully he can play for a few more years or whatever and we get that shot. But I definitely respect him as a player and a person, and I feel bad that I miss out on that.”

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