Ravens' Clayton still holding out

WESTMINSTER -- Wide receiver Mark Clayton remains absent without leave from the Baltimore Ravens' training camp. The first-round draft pick is holding out in a contract dispute that shows no signs of being imminently resolved.

"There's nothing to report," Ben Dogra, Clayton's representative, said Monday night. "We're still negotiating."

Neither side has outlined what is causing the delay in contract talks for the No. 22 overall pick.

When Oakland Raiders cornerback Fabian Washington received a five-year contract worth $7.8 million that included $5.3 million in bonuses last week, it set a framework for Clayton to receive a slightly larger contract under the NFL's slotting principle.

Yet, no deal has been struck.

When asked if there was optimism regarding getting Clayton signed and into camp soon, Ravens coach Brian Billick replied: "I have no clue. I can see the headlines, ‘Billick Clueless.' I have no further knowledge as to what the contractual situation is with Mark Clayton."

It's believed that the Jacksonville Jaguars are waiting to see how rich Clayton's deal will be before finalizing a contract for No. 21 selection Matt   Jones, another wide receiver holdout.

It's unclear if the Ravens or Clayton's agents are following a similar approach.

There is a large gap between what Washington received and the deal for the No. 20 overall pick, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears.

Spears signed a five-year contract worth $9.3 million.

That's a $1.5 million difference between Spears' contract and Washington's deal.

Determining exactly where Clayton should be slotted is likely what's being haggled over.

When asked whether the deal could have been done quickly, Billick said: "Certainly, but that's not my concern right now."

R. LEWIS BULKS UP: All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis looks well prepared for heavy-duty work in the middle of the Ravens' 4-3 and 46 defenses.

After taking two months off after the season to recuperate, the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year now weighs 260 pounds.

Although Lewis appeared lean as usual and demonstrated his trademark speed in pursuit, he might be better equipped for taking on blocks with the added weight.

"I let my body completely rest," said Lewis, who broke his wrist twice last season. "My body responded tremendously. I came into regular camp at 245 and now at this camp, I came in at 260.

"I can play with my weight either way. My strength right now is my body adapts so quickly because of my rest. Honestly, I'm 30, but I've never felt this strong in my life."

BEARD DEBATE: Billick continues to draw attention after growing a gray beard that has sparked online polls in Baltimore.

Although there have been mixed reviews about the scruff, the coach has at least one supporter of his facial hair besides his wife, Kim.

"Like I told him, what everybody else don't like, you love," Lewis said. "Just do the opposite of what everyone else does."

HIGH-OCTANE: Shortly after being steamrolled by tight end Terry Jones in blocking drills, Pro Bowl defensive end/linebacker Terrell Suggs took his revenge.

Suggs decked Darnell Dinkins, laying on top of the fallen tight end before rising in laughter.

"I think Darnell Dinkins can tell you how good Suggs' tempo was," Billick said.

TRAINING ROOM: Besides Dan Cody's severe knee injury, rookie defensive lineman Gary Gibson was carted off with a right foot injury. He's on crutches with his foot in a walking boot.

Offensive lineman Thatcher Szalay and defensive back Cash Mouton didn't practice with undisclosed ailments.

Center Mike Flynn (back spasms), offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo (recent arthroscopic knee surgery to remove gout) and nickel back Deion Sanders (toe) practiced without incident.

QUICK HIT: Running back Jamal Lewis is scheduled to be released Tuesday from an Atlanta halfway house after serving two months. He'll report to Westminster on Thursday and begin practicing Monday.

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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