Ravens coach Brian Billick indicated that Peter Boulware will be the judge on how much the Pro Bowl outside linebacker tests his surgically repaired right shoulder heading into the start of training camp today.
Boulware, whose rehabilitation has been slowed by biceps tendinitis over the past three months, estimated last week that his shoulder was 90 percent. The fourth-year player had surgery Feb. 9, three days after participating in the Pro Bowl, for an injury that he suffered two seasons ago.
Last year, Boulware proved that he be effective without much work in training camp, recording 10 sacks in the regular season while playing with a restrictive harness. But he probably will not be as much of a sideline bystander this time in Westminster.
"We anticipate Peter doing a lot more than he did last preseason," Billick said. "I don't anticipate seeing him a lot in preseason games, although he'll get substantial drill time, [but] maybe not initially. Again, we're going to nurse this thing along.
"Peter has enough experience that obviously the first couple of days or missing a couple of drills in particular is not going to hurt him too adversely. But he needs to get into the rhythm and the flow of what we're doing."
Boulware, who could not be reached to comment yesterday, has consistently said that he will be ready for the Ravens' season opener at Pittsburgh on Sept. 3. And the team is banking on Boulware's assessments.
"He'll insert himself wherever he's comfortable and not put himself in a position where he might be at risk to injure it and set him back a little bit," Billick said. "But we're more optimistic about Peter's future this year with regards to his shoulder than at any time last year."
Jamal Lewis, the team's top draft pick, arrived in enough time to sign his contract about a half-hour before the Ravens' team meeting.
Lewis, who spent some of the past month working out with teammates Ray Lewis and Shannon Sharpe in Atlanta, agreed late Friday to a six-year deal worth $35.3 million. The rookie running back out of Tennessee said he had no problems with a contract that traded signing bonus revenue to get back-end incentives.
"I'm here," Lewis said. "So, I'm happy."
Field of seams
The Ravens had to do some extra work on the Western Maryland College fields after an someone drove a vehicle over them two months ago.
The team had to resod the upper field and reseed the lower one, which still has visible tire tracks. Bob Eller, the Ravens' director of operations, said there should be no footing problems for the players.
The Ravens expanded their training camp roster to 84 players after adding defensive back Corby Jones, defensive tackle Jarrett Loggins, defensive end Carl Powell and fullback Alan Ricard.
Only Powell has been in the league for more than one season, and none played a down last season.
The Ravens will practice four days before scrimmaging the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Friday night, and they'll use the matchup to work out their second- and third-string players.
"I hope no one expects to come to that scrimmage and see Tony Banks throwing to Shannon Sharpe in a live situation because it's not going to happen," Billick said.