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Ray Lewis more focused on 49ers than retirement

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Ray Lewis more focused on 49ers than retirement

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) For weeks, no one could determine when The Ray Lewis Retirement Tour would draw to a close.

Since Lewis announced on Jan. 2 his ``last ride'' in the NFL would coincide with the end of the Ravens' postseason run, there was the possibility that each game would be his last.

Now, after successful stops in Denver and New England, there is no longer any doubt: Win or lose, Lewis will perform for the final time on Feb. 3, in New Orleans on the NFL's grandest stage.

It wouldn't be surprising if Lewis approached the Super Bowl with a feeling of finality, but the 37-year-old middle linebacker insisted Thursday that he's thinking only about helping the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers.

``Honestly, outside of putting my head in the playbook and studying San Fran, I really haven't thought about anything else,'' Lewis said.

``It's going to be a great day, period, no matter what happens. And that's kind of the way I've approached it,'' he said. ``I haven't even said, `Oh man, this is your last game, what do you think?' I really haven't. Because I just really am keeping my teammates focused on the real prize.''

Now in his 17th season, Lewis is preparing for his second Super Bowl - the first in 12 years. The last time he played for the NFL championship, Lewis earned MVP honors in Baltimore's 34-7 win over the New York Giants.

After waiting all this time to get back, Lewis has no intention of merely settling for being part of the big game.

``The real prize is actually going and winning the Super Bowl,'' he said. ``It's great to get there, don't get me wrong, but to win it is something special.''

And then, only then, Lewis will think about what it means to walk off the football field for the final time.

``You feel that confetti drop, I'll probably reflect then, when I'm there,'' he said. ``But, it really hasn't crossed my mind like that.''

San Francisco inside linebacker Patrick Willis, who wears No. 52, has nothing but admiration for Baltimore's No. 52.

``I'm just a big fan of him, period,'' Willis said Thursday. ``Just his enthusiasm on the field, the passion he plays with. I've always been a big fan of those who play with passion, such as Ray Lewis. I know people always want to make comparisons and talk about torches and all this. At the end of the day, I always say I can only be the best player I can be.

``As a fellow linebacker, being at the Pro Bowl and being able to be coached by the same coach (Mike Nolan) at one point in time in our careers, we've become friends. Ray's one of those guys, he loves to give his wisdom and give his knowledge, and I'm the type that I love to listen - anybody who's been there, done that, especially his caliber of player, who's played a long time.''

Lewis has been with the Ravens since 1996, and it wasn't long after his arrival that he became the captain of the defense. As his career went on, he lost a step but made up for it with tireless film study and sharp instincts.

After his rookie year, the only time Lewis didn't get a Pro Bowl invitation were those seasons when he was beset by injury - 2002, 2005 and 2012.

Last year he received his 13th Pro Bowl nod despite missing four games with a foot injury. This season, after tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14, there was a strong possibility he wouldn't be back.

At first, the Ravens believed he was done for the year. But Lewis vowed to return, and his teammates were determined to make it happen.

``We knew we wanted to make the playoffs in order for Ray to have a chance to come back,'' safety Ed Reed said. ``He's that engine, that motor that's going to go all the time. He understands what the offense is trying to do to you when you're talking about the run game. He's calling out plays before they even happen. That's what you really miss when Ray is out.''

Since his return, Lewis has 44 tackles in three games. He isn't limping into retirement; rather, he's headed out with a flourish.

``He's played really well. He's played just like he's always played,'' coach John Harbaugh said.

Lewis attributes his involuntary 10-game absence as the reason behind his resurgence on the field.

``I've always said that anytime you can give your body a true rest - not just your body - anytime you can give your mind a certain rest from the game and from the every week wear and tear, when you come back you come back just as fresh as ever,'' Lewis said. ``For me right now, I feel fresh. My mind is fresh, my body is fresh and I'm just excited to really be able to end the thing up the right way.''

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Santa Clara, Calif. contributed to this report.

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Ravens 2016 Preseason Schedule: Week 3 vs. Lions date, time, TV channel, live stream

Ravens 2016 Preseason Schedule: Week 3 vs. Lions date, time, TV channel, live stream

The Ravens 2016 preseason schedule rolls on with a Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions.

With just three weeks until the start of the 2016 NFL reuglar season, the Ravens look to figure out their 53-man roster and get their injured players back to 100-percent.

Here is everything you need to know about the Ravens' Week 3 preseason game against the Lions.

RELATED: BREAKING DOWN THE TIERS OF 2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL QBS

Who: Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens

What: Week 3 of the 2016 NFL Preseason

Where: M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore, Md.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET. Saturday, August 27

TV Channel: CSNMA+ (Channel Finder

Live Stream: NFL.com Game Pass

Radio: Ravens Radio Network (Frequency Finder)

 

Baltimore Ravens 2016 Preseason Schedule

Week 1 (Thurs., 8/11): vs. Carolina Panthers (22-19 W)

Week 2 (Sat., 8/20): at Indianapolis Colts (19-18 W)

Week 3 (Sat., 8/27): vs. Detroit Lions

Week 4 (Thurs., 9/1): at New Orleans Saints

RELATED: KEY FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYERS TO TARGET IN 2016

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Breshad Perriman is still as fast as ever and believes he'll be ready for Week 1

Breshad Perriman is still as fast as ever and believes he'll be ready for Week 1

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman believes he will be on the field Week 1, and is approaching his return to practice that way.

The former first-round pick also said he was as fast as he ever, despite the two knee injuries that have kept him from playing a game since the Ravens made him a first-round draft pick in 2015.

“I’m attacking it now like I will be ready (Week 1) and I think I will,” Perriman said a day after being activated off the PUP list.

RELATED: START OF SOMETHING NEW FOR PERRIMAN?

Perriman did admit that he needed to improve his on-field chemistry with starting quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens only have two preaseason games remaining — Saturday against the Lions, and Sept. 1 against the Saints.

“Probably have some work to do,” Perriman said. “Haven’t been out there with Joe for a minute. It shouldn’t take that long. I feel like we’ll get it done.’”

Smiling after practice, and talking confidently about his future, Perriman looked like a person who believed his serious injuries were behind him.

When Perriman partially tore his ACL two months ago, there was concern he may have suffered another season-ending injury. Instead, Perriman escaped surgery, and has believed ever since that he would be back on the field this season.  

“It was scary, but at the same time (I) kept faith,” said Perriman.

Perriman has a new look this year, cutting off his dreadlocks earlier this summer.

“I don’t know why, Perriman said. “I just woke up and decided to do it.”

Perriman said there were pros and cons to shedding so much hair.

“It gets cold sometimes,” Perriman said. “I cut it, I weighed myself, and I lost three or four pounds.”

Now Perriman wants to shed the label of being injury-prone.

“Great seeing Breshad out there,” said Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro. “He’s worked so hard. Behind the scenes, nobody sees the work he puts in, he’s such a quiet and humble guy. But he’s in here working out all the time, just trying to get right.”

RELATED: SUGGS CLOWNS PERRIMAN ON FIRST DAY BACK

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Terrell Suggs jokes 'Who's the new guy?' when Breshad Perriman returns to Ravens practice

Terrell Suggs jokes 'Who's the new guy?' when Breshad Perriman returns to Ravens practice

OWINGS MILLS – Upon seeing wide receiver Breshad Perriman on the practice field Tuesday morning, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs couldn’t resist.

“Who’s the new guy?” Suggs said loudly as he walked past Perriman. “Can he play?”

The Ravens certainly think Perriman can play, and hope that he will be playing soon. Seeing Perriman on the field Tuesday was a welcome sight for the organization after his two serious knee injuries, but the timetable for his first game action remained uncertain.

Perriman was running smoothly and being put through drills by wide receiver coach Bobby Engram during the early portion of practice that the media was allowed to watch.

The Ravens have two preseason games remaining – at home Saturday against the Lions, and Sept. 1 at New Orleans. The Ravens’ regular-season opener is Sept. 11 against the Bills.

That doesn’t give Perriman much time to be ready for game reps Week 1.  But the more practice time he can get without setbacks, the closer he comes to taking the field for the first time since being drafted in 2015.

Don’t expect Suggs to stop giving Perriman grief. But just like the rest of his teammates, Suggs was glad to see Perriman on the field, not in the training room.

MORE RAVENS: False start or start of something big for Perriman?