Ray Lewis listed as questionable again with injury

OWINGS MILLS – For the second consecutive week, perennial All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis is listed as questionable on the initial injury report because of a shoulder injury. <P> For the second week in a row, the Baltimore Ravens downplayed the severity of the injury.

Lewis played through the pain during Sunday's 20-12 loss to the Oakland Raiders and registered a team-high dozen tackles while wearing a protective shoulder harness.

He noted that the bruised right shoulder joint isn't the same shoulder that required surgery last year and ended his season.

"It is going to be what it is going to be," said Lewis, who leads Baltimore with 198 tackles heading into Sunday's critical AFC North road game against the Cleveland Browns. "It's feeling pretty good. It's a regular-season injury, nothing life-threatening. I didn't tear anything or hurt anything, just general soreness."

Lewis apparently incurred the injury in the Ravens' win over the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago. Baltimore (8-6) held Oakland runners to 79 yards on 31 carries, a 2.5 average per rush as the Raiders scored 10 points off turnovers.

"Ray didn't have a setback, and he'll be better-conditioned this Sunday than he was last Sunday," general manager Ozzie Newsome said.

Lewis is the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Month and has five interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Ravens coach Brian Billick indicated that the team will be judicious in limiting Lewis' exposure to contact in practice, which is standard for this late in the season anyway.

"Ray's fine," Billick said. "It's the end of the season, a linebacker that has taken a lot of hits. The shoulder, structurally, is fine. It's sore and he played magnificently the other day.

"But, like a great running back, you've got to approach the last weeks of the season carefully as to how much pounding you want to put on your guy."

SLAUGHTER SIGNS: Baltimore signed former Jaguars linebacker T.J. Slaughter on Wednesday. And the Ravens placed starting outside linebacker and special-teams ace Adalius Thomas on injured reserve.

Billick indicated that Slaughter was signed as insurance in case a linebacker gets hurt and has the capability of playing inside or outside.

"It's good to be playing for Mike Singletary on a playoff contender," Slaughter said. "That's why I came here."

A former Jaguars starter cut by Green Bay last week, Slaughter, 26, was released by Jacksonville in October one day after his arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Slaughter allegedly brandished his handgun at teenagers riding alongside his luxury SUV.

The charge was dropped as part of Slaughter's agreement with prosecutors to surrender his 9 mm handgun, which he had a license to carry, and make a $500 charitable donation.

Slaughter served a four-game suspension last year for violating the NFL's policy on anabolic steroids and banned substances.

"That other stuff is behind me," said Slaughter, a former Southern Mississippi standout who has 330 career tackles. "That's old news."

TWO-POINTER BLOCKED: NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira acknowledged Monday that officials didn't have the proper replay available in time from CBS in Sunday's controversial review of a Baltimore 2-point attempt.

An angle the referee didn't get to review would have confirmed running back Chester Taylor wasn't down before reaching the end zone Sunday, Pereira said.

"I appreciate the honesty," Billick said. "I have no fault with the officials. Why and how and the process that he doesn't get the right view, that is the process that I've called into question and has to be examined."

The Ravens haven't traditionally fared well on instant-replay reviews all season, either.

"The referees ain't been our friends all year," Taylor said.

INJURY UPDATE: Besides Lewis, the Ravens listed offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo (groin), fullback Alan Ricard (ankle) and Taylor (leg) as questionable.

The Browns listed cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (ankle) and defensive end Kenard Lang (knee) as questionable, putting cornerback Anthony Henry (knee) down as probable for Sunday's kickoff.

Cleveland leads the NFL with 14 players on various injured lists, placing defensive end Courtney Brown, running back James Jackson and kicker Phil Dawson on injured reserve last week along with two other players.

QUICK HITS: The Ravens moved practice to M&T Bank Stadium because of inclement weather. … According to Stats, Inc., right offensive tackle Orlando Brown leads the Ravens with nine penalties, including six false starts and two holding penalties. Right offensive guard Bennie Anderson has been assessed seven penalties, including five false starts. … The Ravens are second in the AFC and third in the NFL with 32 forced turnovers, but are minus-3 in turnover ratio and tied for 10th in the AFC in that category because of 17 interceptions and 18 lost fumbles.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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