While he typically chooses to conduct his offseason training at his home in Miami, 10-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis has been at Ravens headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., all week.
Lewis returned to Baltimore last week for a press conference on Thursday to formally recognize his new contract with the Ravens. Apparently, No. 52 wanted to get some time in the gym before he left town.
The Ravens' offseason conditioning program is 100 percent voluntary, and many veterans prefer to exercise with their own personal trainers and follow a routine that has worked for them in the past.
Lewis said that while Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh encourages all players to attend, he is also flexible.
"That is one reason why coach Harbaugh's just going to be a great coach in years to come, because he's flexible with life," Lewis said. "He's not going to demand, 'Come be in Baltimore.' No, he knows you have family, he knows you have business, things like that going on."
It is unknown how long the 13-year veteran will remain at the facility, but his passion for the offseason is unmistakable.
During his press conference, Lewis referred multiple times back to a resurgent offense and the Ravens' typically-solid defense in a run to the AFC Championship - where Baltimore was still hanging in a 23-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with five minutes left in the game - as motivation to work even harder this year.
"There was something you were going to taste when you actually felt what first round of playoffs meant, second round, AFC Championship," he stated. "I told [the team], 'Before you walk off this field, make sure you look at the stadium, make sure you look at that podium, because you'll know. There's only one champ, so somebody's going to walk off just the way we walked off.
"But, what we have now, we have a core who's tasted it. So now, for us to go back, that's what so important about the offseason now. That's why the commitment from myself is to come back and make sure that these guys are clicking all the right cylinders."
No Extra Picks
The Ravens were not allotted any compensatory picks in the upcoming NFL Draft this year.
Thirty-two were allotted to 16 different teams to balance against free-agent losses from the previous season.
The maximum amount of compensatory selections allowed is four, and the Ravens have received that number in 1997, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Baltimore is currently slated to select 26th in the first round and has the 57th (second round) and 88th (third round) picks in the draft.
The Ravens have a total of six overall picks after their seventh-rounder was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for defensive tackle Marques Douglas.
Douglas was recently released and eventually signed with the New York Jets.
*Ravens Not Opening 2009 Campaign *
The NFL announced its slate of opening-week games, and it doesn't look like Baltimore is one the list of prime-time matchups.
During that week, the Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the AFC South champion Tennessee Titans on Thursday, Sept. 10.
The Sunday night contest on NBC will feature the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
Meanwhile, ESPN will host a doubleheader on Monday night to celebrate the inaugural 1960 AFL season. The first game has the Buffalo Bills traveling to Foxboro to visit the New England Patriots, followed by the Oakland Raiders playing the San Diego Chargers.
There will also be three Thanksgiving games for the third consecutive year. Green Bay will take on the Detroit Lions at 12:30 p.m., the Raiders will play the Dallas Cowboys at 4:15 p.m., and then the New York Giants and Denver Broncos meet at 8:20 p.m.
Ravens left tackle Jared Gaither received an additional $301,856 in compensation under the NFL's performance-based pay system. His windfall ranked 13th among recipients. Approximately $105 million of performance-based pay was distributed to players in the system for 2008 service. Chargers tackle Jerome Clary, a 2006 sixth-round draft selection from Kansas State, earned $405,859 in additional pay to top the list. … M&T Bank Stadium will host international soccer powers AC Milan and Chelsea FC as part of the World Football Challenge on Friday, July 24.