The rookie season of Ravens sixth-round defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore is shaping up as the NFL equivalent of a medical redshirt year.
It could be a season eventually spent on injured reserve after starting out on the physically unable to perform list.
The Notre Dame standout tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a national championship game loss to Alabama in January. He detached his medial collateral ligament in the same knee the previous season against USC.
"He's a guy that we're going to bring along and rehab," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "If we get something out of him in 2013, it's a plus."
With Alabama being his alma mater, Newsome was at the game where Lewis-Moore got hurt. He was already familiar with the Texas native and former blue-chip recruit because of his strong play for the Fighting Irish.
"I had already watched him on tape," Newsome said. "We had good grades on him. We believe in our medical staff. Now with ACLs, there is predictability in his recovery. We have some players that can play the position, but if we get into the middle of the season and he's completely ready to go, there are no players on the street when you get to October and November. To be able to pull somebody like that out of the bullpen could be a bonus for us."
Given the timing of the injury, though, it's regarded as unlikely that he'll contribute much this year.
An accomplished player with 180 career tackles and a dozen sacks, Lewis-Moore underwent surgery three months ago after his latest medical setback.
"I just try to have a positive mind about it" Lewis-Moore said. "I know the knee kind of set me back a bit, but you can only control what you can control. I'm working my butt off to get right again. Obviously, you don't want to rush anything like that."
If not for the knee injuries, Lewis-Moore could have been a much higher draft pick.
Just last season, the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder had 40 tackles, 8 1/2 for losses, six sacks and two forced fumbles.
Lewis-Moore was caught off guard when the Ravens called.
"It's kind of funny becase I was actually watching the draft with two of my friends and I was just sitting there watching the picks go by," Lewis-Moore said. "I was like, 'I'm hungry, I'm going to get a sandwich,' and I got the call from Mr. Ozzie.
"Me and my agent, we were still pretty hopeful late round, but in the middle of the sixth, I was kind of surprised and losing a little hope. I was just like, 'Hey, let me go get a sandwich, whatever happens happens.' Obviously, my phone started going off. I saw the Baltimore area code and I was like, 'Whoa!' So, I had to get it together a little bit."
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