March 13, 2006

Lewis returns to Ravens’ nest with three-year deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens will hope Jamal
Lewis has put his problems behind him as they signed the former
All-Pro running back to a three-year deal worth a reported $26

A bruising running back, Lewis rushed for 2,066 yards in
2003 but last year saw his production drop off dramatically,
rushing for a career-low 906 yards after undergoing off-season
ankle surgery and spending four months in a Florida prison on
drug charges.

The fifth overall pick in the 2000 draft, Lewis has run for
6,669 yards in six seasons in Baltimore and became a free agent
in January before re-signing for the Ravens.

"We are so excited to have Jamal back," said Ravens general
manager Ozzie Newsome on the team's Web site. "If you look at
his history, he always rebounds in a big way from adversity.

"He had a tough 2005 that started with surgery, his
incarceration and then dealing with all of the turmoil during
the season with the contract hanging over his head.

"We expect big things from him."

In other moves, the Philadelphia Eagles upgraded their
defensive line, signing former-New Orleans Saints defensive end
Darren Howard to a six-year deal worth a reported $30.5


"I can't think of any player we've tried harder to get over
the last several years," said Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie on
the team Web site.

In a six-year career, all spent in a New Orleans uniform,
Howard has 301 tackles and 44 sacks but was held to 3 sacks
during last year's troublesome campaign that saw the Saints
uprooted and forced to play all their games on the road after
Hurricane Katrina severely damaged the their Superdome home.

"It's good to be in an organization that's wanted you for
the past couple of years ... I'm going to give everything that
I can to help this football team," said Howard on the Eagles'
Web site. "I think I lead by example.

"I'm always where I'm supposed to be and doing what I'm
supposed to do. I think the guys levitated to that, especially
in New Orleans."

After trading Brandon Lloyd to the Washington Redskins on
Saturday, San Francisco moved quickly to fill the hole at wide
receiver signing Cleveland Browns' Antonio Bryant to a
four-year contract worth a reported $15 million.

A proven pass catcher, Bryant set career-highs last season
with 69 receptions and 1,009 yards in 16 games.

In a four year career split between Dallas and Cleveland,
Bryant has 210 receptions for 3,104 yards and 16 touchdowns.