Training Camp Transcript - Aug. 9

On whether he would have preferred full pads in today's heat to make the team tougher: "No, no. No, being in pads or not being in pads is not really about being tough or not being tough, as you know. It's what we needed to get done today, and it's been scheduled as a shells practice all along. So, the weather was irrelevant."

On whether he is limping a little after running with kickoff team: "No. Absolutely not. No, it's a smooth stride, probably about a 4.43 running down there. You didn't have a clock did you?" (laughter)

On whether it's a good sign that players seem to be healing quickly: "Well, guys have been. I think guys have done a great job in the training room. If guys came into camp, as we said before, in really good shape and ready to go, that helps you. That helps limit the number of little [injuries] you get. What happens when guys start getting held out, usually it's an accumulation of things. So, if you get the one major thing, the fluke thing, there's nothing you can do about it. But when things start adding up, it's a hamstring, then it's a groin, then it's a calf strain, that's what holds guys out. But when you're in good shape, usually it's one thing that you can go get treatment on and get it right and get back. Our guys have established that."

On whether G Ben Grubbs will be ready for full contact by tomorrow: "That's a good question. I don't know. We'll have to see after today and see how it responds and see how he feels tomorrow morning."

On the status of T Stefan Rodgers:"He got stepped on, I think, and he had three nice cleat marks on his calf there. He turned it a little bit, so he's OK. He had a little planter fasciitis thing going, too, but that was the other foot, so I think he's OK."

On the progression of S Ed Reed, who practiced without a red jersey today: "You'll have to ask him. I'm not sure. I didn't have a conversation with him or Bill [Tessendorf] about that before practice, so we'll see what Ed says about that."

On whether CB Domonique Foxworth sustained an injury at the end of practice: "He was just starting to feel it grab a little bit, cramp a little bit, so we pulled him out."

On whether the team is looking forward to playing an actual opponent on Thursday: "Yeah, well the guys here are. I'm sure that the Redskins are, too. That's the nature of training camp. It'll be a fun game and it's against a team that we read a lot about down the road. Everybody in the NFL looks forward to that first game after being in camp for three weeks."

On how practice was in the heat this afternoon: "The good thing was we didn't have a lot of humidity, as far as the weather. It was hot; we needed that. I guess we're going to get a couple days in a row here of heat, so that will be a plus for us. You know, whatever comes, we like. If it was cool, that means we get more done. If it was hot, that means we get just as much done, but it's hot and we get used to it. Our guys handled it pretty well."

On his participation in this weekend's memorial service for the late coach Jim Johnson: "With coach Johnson, I mean it was just… It was really neat. The amazing thing about something like that – and it's an interesting kind of phenomenon in football, not just the NFL – you go to something like that and there are three or four hundred people there and you know every one of them. Whether it was coaches that were with Jim in Indianapolis when my brother played there, or [Philadelphia] Eagles players, people in the organization, friends of Jim's that we played golf with in the summer over the years, it's just amazing how that whole thing works. I'm sure it's the same in your profession, too. But, every moment of the whole afternoon was hugging somebody that cared about Jim as much as we did."

On whether Navy had a presentation for the team after practice today: "The Navy members gave us a t-shirt, and those guys – the Sprint Navy coaches – have been here pretty much for the last three or four days. You know, those guys are 175 pounds or less, right? So they play pretty aggressive, fast football, and they were here studying football, so that was good. Then we had them earn their meals. They had to run down on the kickoff team, kind of as a walk-through deal, just to honor really what they're doing. We appreciate having them here."

On how it felt to run around in the heat:"It felt real good, particularly me – sore. I like the heat. It's those days when it's cloudy that I get a little bit… I need more heat to warm up. So, I felt better today because it was warmer."

On if he is used to this weather because of his Miami days:"Oh yeah. It's easier to break a sweat, easier to get warmed up. I was happy that today we had a hot day."

On how full-pad practices with the first team are going for him:"It's going well. [We've] got guys out there… You hear stuff like you're watching an army movie or something – Haloti [Ngata] crashing into somebody, Kelly Gregg. And then you get those holes and those openings, and you just fill them as a linebacker. I think that's the biggest part of being with the 'ones.' Those guys, they really know how to get after it. Everybody knows their assignments, and all you've got to do is play off that D-line."

On if he feels like he has a legacy to uphold:"Absolutely. You've got, like I said, my mentality, say this guy's name – Ray Lewis. You've got that guy, and you've got Ed Reed. Those guys, I've been around them, Willis McGahee, I've been around those guys growing up for the past eight years of my life. You don't want to let those guys down. Magically, I'm here."

On if he sees this group of players as the next phase of the Ravens' defense because of their contracts:"Yes. They brought us all in last year, and you didn't need to be a rocket scientist to know that Bart [Scott], Ray and 'Sizzle' [Terrell Suggs] were all up on their deals. They brought in another linebacker. You never knew how it was going to unfold, but this is how it is. Now it's time for us to start playing together, start building communication. Ray is doing everything he can. He's not just saying, 'I'm going to be in Canton. I'm going to let these guys go.' He's showing us, he's teaching us the way, how to play defense like a Raven. That's special for me, and I think all those guys, that Ray had the opportunity to stay, and he did, and now he's teaching us the way."

On what it's like to be from the University of Miami: "It's all from a mental standpoint. At Miami, before you can even hit somebody, you have to pass your conditioning test. We start out with 26 110's at Miami with Coach [Andreu] Swasey. So, it's all been mental. Once you can get your mind into it, I think you can do anything. That's what they instill with us at the University of Miami. That's why us guys, with the God-given ability, really explode. Our mind is so high above everybody else. We're looking to do things that people haven't done. I really think that's what they do. They brainwash us at the University of Miami into believing that we are the best, and that's just how we play."

On if he welcomes the challenge of being looked at as "Little Ray": "Being the youngest in my family, I've always had to exceed whatever somebody else did. My brother – he was a great football player – and I was the baby. So, I was always called 'Little Byron,' 'Little Stump'. So, I had to go through that. Now, it's the same thing with Ray – they're like, 'Baby Ray.' Eventually, I just want to come out here and make my coaches proud, make my team proud and earn my own name."

On if he is out there competing for the starting job: "We're out there doing it. I'm doing my thing. I've been blessed. God has got me to this level. I'm not fighting with anybody for a job. I'm playing my game. That's the way I play. All the fans and everybody else – and the coaches – they'll see that at the end of the day."

On if he is ready to go entering the preseason games: "Oh yeah. I'm feeling good. The main thing is, we're just trying to protect [his sports hernia] from injury. I did have surgery – a little weaker, a little fatigued than what I normally am. We've been strengthening it. Those guys, Bill [Tessendorf] are helping me out a lot. Right now, I'm getting ready. I'm getting ready for each practice like I'm playing this preseason game on Thursday."

On if it feels weird to be competing against a friend: "I've been competing all my life. That's what I'm trying to say. Everybody at the University of Miami, they're my friend. Half of the time, me and Jameel [McClain] are on the field at the same time. So, it's funny that people are trying to make it a competition thing. Like I said, I don't go out there for the competition. I go out there to make the plays. I listen to coach and I do what I'm supposed to do. At the end of the day, that's the coaches' decision – who's going to play." 

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