August 9, 2005

Lewis ready to resume career after prison term

By Steve Ginsburg

WESTMINSTER, Maryland (Reuters) - Baltimore Ravens running
back Jamal Lewis says he learned to appreciate the value of
everyday life during his time in prison.

Lewis, the fifth overall pick in the 2000 draft, is ready
to resume his football career after spending four months in a
Florida prison on drugs charges and another two at an Atlanta
halfway house.

"I missed a lot of things while I was there, just driving a
car, eating good food," he told reporters on Tuesday. "When
you're out here on the street, you don't think about those

"I'm not a bad person," he added softly.

Lewis pleaded guilty last October to taking part in an
attempted drug deal in 2000, shortly before he was drafted by
the Ravens.

He arrived at the Ravens' training camp on Monday -- a week
late -- due to his August 3 release from the halfway house.

After working on agility drills without pads, the muscular,
5-foot-11 running back said he was raring to go.

"Physically, I'm good," he said. "I weighed in at 240, 242.
That's pretty much where I'm usually at, a little bit leaner.
I've been eating pretty good, training hard twice a day."

The Ravens would love to see Lewis back in his 2003 form
when he was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year after
rushing for 2,066 yards, the second most for a single season in
league history.


A year ago, Lewis rushed for 1,006 yards while missing two
games with an ankle injury and another two from an NFL
suspension for his drug case.

During his prison stay, Lewis said he did a lot of
meditating and "focusing on what lies in my future."

While at the halfway house, he prepared for the upcoming
season, getting up at 7 a.m. and spending 10 to 12 hours
working out in the gym.

"Basically you just go to work, and my job was to go work
out and get ready for my job here," said Lewis, who was set to
wear pads for the first time on Wednesday at the team's
training camp at McDaniel College.

"I'm anxious to get back and get started," he added.
"They've been holding me out for the last two days. I'm ready
to strap up, put the pads on and get it going."

Lewis had been worried about the drug charges for nearly
five years while prosecutors ran up against the statute of
limitations before filing charges.

"You all think it's just been hanging over my head for the
last season. It's been hanging over my head for the last five
seasons," he said. "It's just a relief and a great weight off
my back so I can move forward.

"If I could accomplish what I did over the last five years
under the circumstances, hopefully there are better years to