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Ray: 'I Want Another Ring Bad'


PLEASE NOTE:The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

He might be far off from beginning his 15th NFL season, but linebacker **Ray Lewis** believes this Ravens team is primed for a Super Bowl run.

That is the one thing the stalwart veteran has on his mind.

"For me, not to discredit [the Pro Bowl], but that's kind of easy for me," said Lewis in an interview with "I can go chase numbers and get this many tackles and this many sacks. But I only play for one thing – I want another ring bad. I want another championship.

"I really want a ring with the guys that I have in-house right now. We have a close-knit group, and that's what builds championships."

Lewis pointed to a recently-bolstered passing attack as a main reason for Baltimore's championship buzz. The Ravens brought in three-time Pro Bowl receiver **Anquan Boldin** and the speedy **Donte' Stallworth**. Then,Derrick Mason re-signed.

With a second-year quarterback **Joe Flacco** at the helm, the Ravens showed that they could field a stellar offense last year. But, next season could be unprecedented for Lewis.

The best the Ravens have ever performed offensively during his tenure was 1996, when Baltimore finished third. That year, the Ravens racked up 357.7 yards per game when Vinny Testaverde utilized two 1,000-yard receivers (Michael Jackson and Derrick Alexander) to amass 4,177 passing yards.

"All the guys are veterans in their own respective ways, and not just veterans, but playmakers," Lewis said of the new signings. "Giving a young quarterback like Joe Flacco those types of weapons, you did the right things to help his career. With me being on the other side of it, that always excites me."

Defensively, the Ravens have remained consistently excellent.

With Lewis in the middle, the Ravens have finished no worse than sixth in the league in nine of the last 10 seasons. The one hiccup came in 2002, when a shoulder injury limited Lewis to only five games and the Ravens to a ranking of 22nd.

There were questions if the Ravens still had it last year when their defense was 19th overall after seven games, but Baltimore ended up third by allowing only 300.5 yards a week.

"The year takes care of itself," Lewis said with a knowing laugh. "You're going to deal with injuries here and there, and we dealt with our fair share. Some of the defensive linemen got hurt early, and we lost a couple of corners. It's always up and down.

"But if you've watched football enough, you know that the defenses that are good are the ones that are consistent. It's all in how you finish. That's always been our motto."

Lewis understands that many more factors can and will affect which team is finally holding the Vince Lombardi trophy. The Ravens have to stay healthy, maintain supreme focus week-to-week and maybe even have a little luck.

But this early in the offseason, Lewis sees the Ravens moving closer to a second one.

"We're going to make a run at it," Lewis said. "When you do have those teams that are as complete as you think, there is a lot that still comes into play. You have to stay injury-free. Both sides have to be clicking. Things like that. Is the excitement right at this time in Baltimore? I would say yes, for us to go make a run at it. At the same time, there are a lot of things that we have to put together before we can make that decision."

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