Ravens' J. Lewis regains form

BALTIMORE – Jamal Lewis vowed weeks ago that the legal turmoil of his offseason wouldn't hinder him during the regular season.

The Baltimore Ravens' bruising running back began backing up that statement Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium.

The 2003 NFL Offensive Player of the Year demonstrated his trademark burst and ability to cut back on a 25-yard run in the first quarter down to the Colts' 38-yard line.

Platooning with backup Chester Taylor, Lewis gained 38 yards on 12 carries during the first half. He appeared to show no ill effects from his right ankle surgery in February, or spending four months in a Florida federal prison for a drug crime followed by two months in an Atlanta halfway house.

"I don't have time for bad judgments," Lewis said. "I know there's going to be a lot of people out there anxious to see me fail or whatever so they can say, 'He's not going to be the same,' or, 'He's going to be a little slower, maybe he's lost a step.' I'm not going to feed into that and give them that glory."

SIMON STARTS: Former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Corey Simon, whom Baltimore tried to obtain via trade earlier in the offseason, started in his debut for the Colts.

Simon only began practicing with Indianapolis last week in his first formal workouts since the end of the 2004 season as he didn't attend any of the Philadelphia Eagles' summer school or training camp workouts because of a contract dispute.

In addition to trying to get physically ready for the Ravens, Simon is also attempting to learn the Colts' defensive system as he goes along.

"I think that I'm doing really well," Simon said. "It's different than what I played in Philadelphia, not as much blitzing and things of that sort. So you're able to really pin your ears back and get after it a little bit more here.

"I get into it. I don't want to have to think about things when I get out on the field on Sunday, so I get into it as much as I can. I want to make sure everything comes second nature to me."

RAVENS' INACTIVES: The Ravens deactivated wide receiver Patrick Johnson, which means that Randy Hymes is essentially the fourth wideout on the depth chart. The other scratches included third quarterback Derek Anderson, fullback Alan Ricard (calf), offensive tackle Adam Terry (ankle), wide receiver Devard Darling (quadriceps), tight end Terry Jones, who ranks behind Todd Heap, Daniel Wilcox and Darnell Dinkins on the depth chart, and defensive tackles Aubrayo Franklin and Dwan Edwards.

Ovie Mughelli started at fullback. The Ravens deactivated the extra defensive linemen because they utilized their dime package (six defensive backs) heavily and didn't need the extra interior linemen.

PLATOON: Right offensive tackle Orlando Brown started, but worked in a platoon with Tony Pashos.

COLTS' INACTIVES: The Colts deactivated cornerback Marlin Jackson, running back Dominic Rhodes, tight end Dallas Clark, linebacker Gilbert Gardner, linebacker Keith O'Neil, defensive tackle Vincent Burns, defensive tackle Montae Reagor and defensive end Jonathan Welsh.

Indianapolis started Simon in place of Reagor and Jason David at right cornerback ahead of Donald Strickland.

The Colts signed defensive back Dexter Reid after placing linebacker Rocky Calmus on injured reserve.

HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF: The Ravens will match every dollar collected by fans that attended Sunday night's game to assist the victims of Hurrican Katrina. Initially, the Ravens were going to match the first $25,000 donated by the fans to benefit the American Red Cross.

"We are seeing every day that the devastation in the Gulf Coast states is far more extensive than originally portrayed, and we've also been inspired by the generosity of our players," Ravens team president Dick Cass said.

The Ravens raised $660,000 to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina after initially collecting $165,000 through the players followed by matches from majority owner Steve Bisciotti and minority owner Art Modell. In addition to the players' donations, the cheerleaders donated their game checks, adding more than $8,000 to the pool.

QUICK HITS: The Ravens announced an attendance figure of 70,501, the largest in Baltimore history. … The Ravens wore their alternate black uniforms for the second time Sunday. They'll wear the uniforms again in December against the Green Bay Packers. … Former Ravens defensive assistants Mike Nolan, Marvin Lewis and Jack Del Rio all won their season openers. … Country and western singer Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the USA" to commemorate the four-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy as well as the national anthem. … Middle linebacker Ray Lewis made his patented entrance while waving the American flag, but replaced his Nelly theme music.

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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