By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
8:44 AM EDT, July 24, 2013
It was a much quieter scene at practice than quarterback Joe Flacco is accustomed to as the Ravens launched their first day of training camp.
With legendary linebacker Ray Lewis retired, Flacco no longer has the defensive icon glowering and barking trash talk at him across the line of scrimmage.
"Yeah, you'd know that he was in there," Flacco said with a smile. "He'd jaw back and forth with you, acting like he's Superman. Believe me, he brought a lot of fun to the practice field. That's never going to be replaced.
"A lot of the guys that we lost, they were a lot of fun to be out here with. We'll miss that part a little bit, but everybody has a little bit of that. He just happened to be a little bit extra special. The guys that we have, we're focused on being good and having a team of our own, so you don't really think about that too much."
Without Lewis, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked who will be the new face of the franchise.
"I've given it no thought whatsoever," Harbaugh said. "It's a pretty general question. Who was the voice and face of the franchise?"
"Ray Lewis," the reporter replied.
"Oh, OK, well that's your interpretation," Harbaugh said.
It's a new day in Baltimore, one without Lewis or former NFL Defensive Player of the Year free safety Ed Reed, who signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Houston Texans.
And there's a different feeling around the defense, a revamped unit that now includes newcomers Elvis Dumervil, Matt Elam, Arthur Brown, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Michael Huff.
"It's not really as loud in the locker room," cornerback Jimmy Smith said. "It's not too different except in the meetings without Ed there. It's a bigger learning curve for everybody because we don't have Ed back there directing everything. We have new guys trying to step into that leadership role."