Ravens' Ray Lewis Ready for Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens will renew their rivalry on Sunday in Baltimore. Make no mistake, it is a rivalry - there is contempt, loathing even hatred between the two teams.<br><br> Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis seems to be at the center of the maelstrom. He stoked the fires last year when the Ravens opened last season at Heinz Field, even though Steeler linebacker Joey Porter did not play.

Nursing one-week-old wounds from a random shooting spree in Denver, Porter showed up at Heinz Field in street clothes and, as a co-captain, went out for the coin toss.

All-Pro Ravens linebacker Lewis started getting on him according to Porter. It continued during the game when Lewis mocked Porter's "boot" celebration kick. After the game, an incensed Porter tried to call Lewis out from his seat on the Ravens' team bus.

Lewis sought to defuse the situation in his chat with Pittsburgh reporters on Wednesday.

"First and foremost, let's make sure that you take my name out of that," Lewis said. "I don't stir up anything with Joey, whatever was stirred up was stirred up. I come to play football and football is all I do, period."

Lewis is more concerned about getting the Ravens back on track after a season opening loss at Cleveland. He wants Baltimore to correct some mistakes in week two. Mistakes that led to a couple of big pass plays for the Browns.

"That was really all it was, a couple of mental mistakes here and there. If you watch the course of the game we played a decent game defensively. We did what we wanted to do against them but two mental errors will cost you in a game of this magnitude, against anybody," said Lewis.

He feels the mistakes are correctable.

"It is already corrected actually. We understand that on our defense that every piece of our defense has to be in the exact place on every play. And on those two plays it wasn't."

Sunday's game with Pittsburgh looms as a crucial early season showdown. The Ravens can ill afford to fall two games behind the Steelers.

"Well all we can do is focus on playing the Steelers this week," Lewis explained. "I don't know if it is falling two games behind. It is crucial, yes, when you lose early then you have to worry about that loss later, but it is going to be what it is going to be. The rivalry with us and the Steelers is always a great one. It is going to come down to just a truly good football game. I don't think that falling behind is really an issue right now, it really is just going out and playing the Steelers right now."

Baltimore's offense struggled against Cleveland, but Lewis isn't concerned coming into the Pittsburgh game.

"No, not really. Don't ever let me brush it off like I'm not a team player, but at the same time things are going to be what they are going to be, truly," Lewis said. "We went through the same thing in 2000 where we had the similar situation with our offense struggling. If they struggle, let them struggle and my thing is that the defense has no room for error, period. We can complicate a lot of things, but some things we can't either."

Lewis feels Pittsburgh is up to their old tricks with Duce Staley running the football and is expecting a real battle.

"They are getting back to the old thing, running the football. They have Duce and they have the Bus (Jerome Bettis) back there, so they are going back to their old mentality of just running the football," Lewis stated. "They are still getting the ball to Hines (Ward) and Plaxico (Burress) at times. The thing is we just need to come out and play our type of football game. It is going to be that type of game again."


 


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