Ray Lewis is still on the Ravens’ injured reserve-designated to return list, but the 13-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker is eligible to return for Sunday’s home contest against the Denver Broncos.
While not revealing anything about Lewis’ availability, defensive coordinator Dean Pees said the decision is out of his hands.
“That’s totally up to the trainers, [coach] John [Harbaugh] and the organization,” he said. “And I’m not really trying to avoid [the question]. It really is a matter of whoever is out there in practice is who we coach up. Whoever shows up on Sunday, that’s who we’re going to coach up. As coaches, we’re almost out of the loop. It’s whoever’s out there in practice, that’s who we got. I’ve never gotten caught up in that in saying, ‘Well, let’s wait and hold this out because he might be back.’ And then what happens is, he doesn’t come back, and you’ve held everything out or you waited. You just kind of go ahead with what you’ve got.”
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Pees was more tight-lipped about the status of outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who sat out Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins after tearing his right biceps in the team’s 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 2.
“He’s practicing and seems to be doing fine,” Pees said of Suggs, who took part in Wednesday’s practice on a limited basis.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith practiced fully Wednesday after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia on Nov. 8. His return could bolster a secondary that lost cornerback Lardarius Webb for the season and did not have strong safety Bernard Pollard (ribs) for Wednesday’s session.
Pees said he has no reservations about putting Smith through the full regimen of practice.
“I think you’ve got to go out there and see what he can do,” Pees said. “… You put him out there and say, ‘Well, I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.’ If you’re going to put the guy out there, they’ve got to learn the stuff. I’ve got to make a decision on if I’m going to call it on Sunday after I’ve watched in practice all week. You’ve got to put them out there and see if they can do it. If they can’t, well then, I know they can’t. To sit there and try to piecemeal everything in there, it just curtails you so much and hurts the rest of the defense. I think you just put the stuff in, you go out there and practice it, and then you make a determination as a coach, ‘Can this guy get it done with what we want to do?’ If he can’t, then you curtail it for Sunday, but not during the week. You’ve got to find out.”