Ray Lewis visits Ravens teammates at practice

Ray Lewis visits Ravens teammates at practice

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) The Baltimore Ravens received a surprise visit from injured star Ray Lewis, who was placed on the injured reserve-designated to return list over three weeks ago.

The 17-year veteran linebacker, rehabbing a torn right triceps away from the Ravens' team facility, wasn't expected to return to the team at this juncture of the season. However, Lewis is in town for a scheduled appearance Friday night and decided to catch the Ravens practicing during the day.

Lewis did not speak to the media Friday but released a statement saying he's happy to return to the team.

``I've really missed these guys and the feel of being around the team and in the locker room,'' Lewis said. ``I am focused on rehabbing and getting my arm and body as strong as they can be.

``I will speak in person when I know a little more about my progress. I'm working hard and looking forward to coming back and helping this team. But right now, the focus should be on the guys playing, and I'll be the biggest cheerleader I can be for them.''

The visit surprised coach John Harbaugh, who acknowledged he was unaware Lewis would be stopping by. Following Friday's practice, Lewis gave one of his signature speeches to help motivate his team for Sunday's game against Oakland.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who came back from an Achilles tear three weeks ago, said Lewis let them know he's preparing to come back later this season as long as the Ravens can make a playoff run.

``It's great to see the leader, the general of your army, out there,'' Suggs said. ``He let us know he's on pace to come back. If we handle business he'll be back in a Ravens uniform this year. We have to do our part, though.''

Through six games, Lewis recorded 57 tackles, which is still second-best on the roster and only behind safety Bernard Pollard. After the injury, Lewis was replaced in the starting lineup by Dannell Ellerbe, who's led the Ravens in tackles the past two games with nine in each contest.

Lewis is eligible to return to practice after six weeks and game action after eight weeks.

Though Suggs seemed optimistic based on Lewis' words in his post-practice speech, Harbaugh said the organization doesn't have a timetable yet for when Lewis could return.

``There's no way for us to know enough about how far along he is or how he's doing,'' Harbaugh said. ``We'll just have to see how it goes, in all honesty.''

Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

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Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

If you didn't the the Pittsburgh Steelers enough already, this ought to help. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and receiver Antonio Brown decided to take in some hockey on Thursday and unfortunately, they were cheering for the local team.

On the one hand, what do you expect? They play for the Pittsburgh Steelers so it's no surprise to see them cheering for the hometown team. On the other hand, the Steelers are the team Ravens fans all love to hate so to see them supporting the chief rivals of the Washington Capitals, that stings.

Just one more reason to hate the Steelers this football season.

RELATED: SEAN PAYTON SAYS RAVENS LOSING WEEK OF OTAS ISN'T THAT BIG OF A DEAL

Sean Payton says Ravens losing week of OTAs isn't that big of a deal

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Sean Payton says Ravens losing week of OTAs isn't that big of a deal

The Ravens forfeited one week of OTAs as part of their punishment for breaking offseason workout rules (the team dressed players in full pads during rookie minicamp, which is a no-go). But don't worry guys, Saints head coach Sean Payton says that's no biggie. 

Of course a few OTA days seem like peanuts to a guy who was suspended for all of 2012, you may be thinking. But hear the man out.  

During a radio interview with PFT Live, Payton was asked about the impact of losing those sessions. 

I don’t think it’s a big deal. The reason I say that is, look, it doesn’t keep the players from lifting and running and so a week of OTAs would be three on-the-field sessions. You don’t want to lose those opportunities and, shoot, one of those opportunities you might have some type of team building experience set up. I think each team does similar things during the OTAs. There’s a lot of offense versus defense. There’s some restrictions regarding one-on-ones but the players are out there in their element, and they’re going though a little bit of a practice format for two hours. So really that equates to about six hours on the field.

Payton explained that the offseason's first phases are valuable because players return to the facility to work out and build camaraderie.

The Ravens may miss out on practice elements, but they're still getting to do what's most important at this early juncture. 

Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman hopes for better health for ailing father and himself

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Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman hopes for better health for ailing father and himself

As Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman looks forward to a healthier season, he is also dealing with his father’s health concerns.

Brett Perriman, who suffered a stroke May 3, has been transferred from a Miami area hospital to Atlanta for rehabilitation, according to The Miami Herald. The 50-year-old Perriman played for the Saints, Lions, Chiefs, and Dolphins during his 10-year NFL career.

On his Twitter account, Breshad Perriman offered encouragement for his father.

Perriman talked about his father’s health issues briefly following the Ravens’ first OTA session. This has been a difficult offseason for Perriman, who was very close to former Ravens cornerback Tray Walker, who died in a dirt bike accident in March.

“It’s been crazy,” Perriman said. “I’ve been through a lot this offseason, but it’s just making me stronger again and just learning to keep faith and pray a lot more. It’s been rough. It still is rough from time to time, but I’m steady getting through it, pushing through it and keeping faith.”

Perriman missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, but looked 100 percent at OTA’s running pass routes.

“I don’t even think about it (knee injury) anymore,” Perriman said. “I feel great.

“Not being able to play, that was a hard thing … I feel much stronger. I feel like I went through a lot last year and it made me a better player and a better person.”

Perriman will continue to hope that better times are ahead, both for himself and for his father.