Sore knee has Lewis out of practice; Linebacker says he won't miss game against Browns


Middle linebacker Ray Lewis does the unusual on a routine basis. Watch him chase down quarterbacks and running backs from afar. Watch him rack up more than 10 tackles a game on a weekly basis. At his current pace, Lewis will shatter his career high of 210 tackles, which he set in his second season in 1997, the year he made his first Pro Bowl.

Yesterday, Lewis did another unusual thing. He missed practice with a sore left knee.

"It's all right. It's stiff and sore," said Lewis, who leads the league with 100 tackles through seven games. "I don't have full flexibility yet. I can't run with it right now, but I should be ready to go [on Sunday against the Browns]. I don't think I've ever missed a practice if I had a nick or a bruise. I never want to sit out."

The only time Lewis has missed practice is during weeks in which he did not play. An ankle injury kept him out of two games in 1996. A dislocated elbow knocked him out of two games last year.

Lewis suffered a contusion on the back of the knee late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

"I got clipped," he said.

Ravens coach Brian Billick said he wasn't concerned about Lewis, who is listed as questionable, starting against the Browns.

Offensive tackles Harry Swayne (leg) and Spencer Folau (knee) and defensive end Michael McCrary (knee) did limited work yesterday, mainly because the team practiced on its artificial turf field.

The main practice field has been re-sodded. The team is expected to practice on grass today.

Modell: Billick 'misspoke'

Team owner Art Modell said Billick "misspoke" on Monday, when Billick questioned whether the Ravens would get fair treatment from the league's officials in Cleveland on Sunday.

Billick's comments drew a sharp criticism from Browns president and CEO Carmen Policy.

"It was overplayed. I think [Billick] misspoke," Modell said. "I have no concerns about officiating or sending my team into Cleveland. Brian feels the officiating is beyond reproach in this league, and he clarified that with the media today. You can question their judgment, but not their honesty."

As for Policy's reaction, Modell said, "I don't pay any attention to him. I've got enough people here to worry about."

Policy said yesterday that his reaction was no reflection of his regard for Baltimore or its fans.

He said that when he walked around Camden Yards before the first Baltimore game with Browns owner Al Lerner, the fans who recognized them "could not have been more gracious. They were wonderful."

He then joked about the way both cities should move forward.

"They should give us the consideration of allowing us to win this Sunday," Policy said. "That'll put everything behind us, and then these two communities can get on with their natural rivalry. It's like Cleveland's the patient and Baltimore's the therapist. It'd be best if the therapist let us get lucky and win."

Modell staying, Newsome going

Modell is following the policy he took before the first Ravens-Browns game and is making no comments to Cleveland media this week.

Modell will not attend the game. Ozzie Newsome, the former Browns' tight end who is now the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, and former Browns guard John Wooten, the Ravens' assistant director for pro personnel, will sit in the visiting owners' box with friends from Cleveland.

Team spokesman Kevin Byrne told an Akron reporter, "Art keeps asking if anybody wants to wear the camel's hair coat."

Modell was noted for wearing the coat in cold weather in Cleveland.

Moore and Cleveland

Safety Stevon Moore, an 11-year veteran, played some of his best football after joining the Browns as a Plan B free agent in 1992. Going back to Cleveland promises to be a memorable experience for Moore, who is now a backup with the Ravens.

"It's a different stadium, but it's in the same location [by Lake Erie]. There will be the same excitement, the same atmosphere, the same emotion. It's going to be a sight to see," Moore said. "We can't get caught up in the whole emotional aspect of the game. We've got to maintain our concentration."

Moore expects a close game, largely because the Ravens failed to win convincingly when the two teams played in Baltimore on Sept. 26. The Ravens held on to win, 17-10.

"They played us close the first time, and they think they can beat us," he said of the Browns. "When you give a team life and you don't put the nail in the coffin, you give them hope."

Got it on tape

Kicker Matt Stover, another of the five former Browns on the team, said he videotaped his last day at the old stadium in Cleveland in December 1995.

"I videotaped everything, from when I walked into the locker room until I walked out. Everybody looked at me like I was a geek, but they wish they had a copy of it now," Stover said. "I watched it one time to see how it came out. It will go in memory archives. That was one of those 'wow' kind of days."

Billick's advice for fans

Billick had some advice for Baltimore fans who are making the trek to Cleveland for the game.

"I would wear a lot of brown and orange, or whatever those colors are," he said. "And if [the Browns] do something well, I'd be on my feet rooting like a son of a gun."

Browns' Miller improving

Outside linebacker Jamir Miller, considered by many to be the best player on the Browns, missed Sunday's victory in New Orleans with a shoulder injury but could play against the Ravens. Miller, listed as questionable for Sunday, practiced yesterday.

Sun staff writer Vito Stellino contributed to this article.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Cleveland Browns

Site: Cleveland Browns Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM) Line: Ravens by 3 1/2

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