- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2002

OWINGS MILLS, Md. One look at Jamal Lewis, and it appears he's gotten bigger. We're not talking excess baggage; we're talking buff.
No need asking what Lewis did during his year recovering from a torn left ACL. It's evident he spent a lot of time in the weight room.
The Baltimore Ravens' star running back knows it won't be easy to regain the form of his incredible rookie season, when he rushed for a team-record 1,364 yards and totaled 2,038 as Baltimore won Super Bowl XXXV.
Lewis said that right now he's about 85 percent and will be 100 percent when the Ravens open training camp July 26.
"I've got time on my hands, and I'll be able to use that time to get ready," Lewis said.
On the first day of last year's training camp when running backs weren't supposed to be hit defensive lineman Kelly Gregg fell on Lewis' leg from behind during live-contact line drills. The knee injury effectively ended Lewis' season and perhaps the Ravens' best chance of repeating as Super Bowl champions.
The 5-foot-11, 231-pounder scoffed at the notion that it will take another season for him to get his knee back in prime shape. When it was noted that Denver's Terrell Davis and Atlanta's Jamal Anderson were not the same players after coming back from torn ACLs, Lewis predicted he'll be different.
"It has a lot to do with your training and how you carry yourself," Lewis said. "We're different people. I came back from the first one pretty healthy the strength was good so that's why I'm going about it the same way."
As a sophomore at Tennessee, Lewis blew out his right knee against Auburn in the fourth game. He came back his junior year and rushed for 816 yards (4.5 average) on 182 carries. Then he turned pro, and the Ravens selected Tennessee's third all-time rusher with the fifth pick overall in the 2000 NFL Draft.
During this weekend's minicamp, Lewis is participating in all the drills and making sharp cuts on his left knee. But he won't know how his knee is until training camp when the Ravens start hitting. In an April minicamp, coach Brian Billick isn't going to let anything happen to his star back.
"We've got a lot of new guys out here, and I don't want anybody to get in his way because they don't know where they belong, but he's been cleared to particpate 100 percent, which is a good sign this early," Billick said.
The Ravens' inconsistent ground game last season certainly could have used Lewis. The Ravens rushed for 1,810 yards (3.7 average), with veteran Terry Allen leading the way with 658 yards. Second-year man Jason Brookins contributed 551 yards. However, neither made defensive backs shudder as Lewis did when he broke the line of scrimmage.
"Hopefully, he'll be better and a lot sturdier than before he left," left guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "He opens up the running game, and we saw what he can do before his injury. We know what kind of runner he is. His return definitely puts us in a better situation."
Not all of Lewis' rehab was spent pumping iron. Last November, the NFL suspended Lewis four games for violating the league's substance and alcohol abuse policy. The 22-year-old Lewis served his suspension last season while he was out and said it was a youthful indiscretion.
"I was young and made a young mistake," Lewis said of his suspension. "I just can't do it again. I learned from it, and it won't happen again."

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