Raven's J.Lewis: two months in halfway house

OWINGS MILLS --- Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis will report to an Atlanta halfway house for two months after he concludes his four-month federal prison term Thursday in Pensacola, Fla., his lawyer confirmed. Lewis is unlikely to be available for the Ravens' June minicamps under the guidelines of an Atlanta judge's sentencing order and may miss a few days of training camp, attorney Jerome Froelich said.

The Ravens report to training camp at McDaniel College on July 31. The 2003 NFL Offensive Player of the Year pleaded guilty to using a cellular phone to try to set up a cocaine deal, and must also perform 500 hours of community service.

"Jamal has been a model prisoner," Froelich said from his Atlanta office. "When I visited him, the prison officials told me, ‘At first, we were expecting to have problems with this guy, a big name coming into prison.' They said he's been as good a prisoner as they've ever had.

"He's polite to everybody, keeps his mouth shut. It's yes sir and no sir. He signs autographs for guards' kids, stays to himself and he even volunteered to paint. He's a changed kid who's moving on with his life."

Team officials had expressed hope that Lewis might be allowed to serve his halfway house time in Maryland, but federal prosecutors weren't amenable to that idea. Lewis would likely finish his halfway house obligation Aug. 2, and the Ravens are scheduled to begin practice the morning of Aug. 1.

Fullback Alan Ricard said he plans to work out with Lewis in Atlanta. Lewis is reportedly down to 240 pounds and can jog now after having his right ankle surgically repaired before reporting to prison in February.

"Jamal understands that there's a process he has to go through to get to football season," running backs coach Matt Simon said. "He understands that the court requires that he does this. He's accepted that and looks forward to working within the system.

"We're eager for him to come back, and we believe in him. He has really stepped up to the plate and showed the type of guy he is."

NOTE: The Ravens hired Don Follett as their head groundskeeper. He spent the previous eight years with the Washington Redskins.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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