Ravens defensive tackle Kapron Lewis-Moore waited exactly 19 months from his final college football play to suit up in a competitive game, and even though it was just the preseason, Lewis-Moore relished Thursday night against San Francisco.
"I'm feeling so excited," Lewis-Moore said after the game. "That's my first game back for a while, and I was just glad to go out there and have some fun. Obviously there are some things I need to keep working on, but … it's the preseason, we're still in training camp, and we've got a lot of time to get better and everything."
Lewis-Moore, the Ravens' sixth-round pick in 2013 out of Notre Dame, missed all of last season while recovering from surgery on a torn right ACL. He went down in the 2013 BCS National Championship game, a bad loss for the Irish that was made worse for Lewis-Moore by the injury.
Now technically in his second year, Lewis-Moore is not only knocking off the rust from a year off, but also making the adjustments first-year players typically make to the pro game. Lewis-Moore was in on a pair of tackles in his preseason debut, and rotated in with both the first-team and second-team defenses.
"I just want to continue to get better," he said. "There's always room for improvement."
Lewis-Moore will do so as part of an impressive young group of defensive linemen behind veteran nose tackle Haloti Ngata and defensive end Chris Canty, a group that includes second-year lineman Brandon Williams, rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, and reserve DeAngelo Tyson.
Lewis-Moore said the younger players are learning from the veterans, but the competition between the younger players is also helping them to improve.
"Everybody is fighting for those spots, everybody is hungry," Lewis-Moore said. "Plus, competition brings out the best in everybody. We all want each other to do well, so going out there, having some fun, that's all we can ask for."