Wednesday notes: Edwards to join rotation

OWINGS MILLS -- Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards is about to exit his bronzed seat on the bench. After three games on the inactive list, the Baltimore Ravens' second-round draft pick from last year is poised to join the defensive line rotation Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Edwards' niche was created by defensive end Tony Weaver's toe injury that will keep him out for four weeks. Although Jarret Johnson will start at defensive end, Edwards' playing time will increase.

"I hate to lose Tony," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The best-case scenario: Dwan just steps up to this opportunity, which we're ready for him to do, so when Tony comes back now we have additional depth and productivity."

Productivity hasn't been associated with Edwards during his short tenure in Baltimore. After being drafted with the 51st overall pick last year, Edwards registered only four tackles in four games.

"You can't hide from anything else anymore," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "Sometimes, you have to come out and play football. There's only one way to play when you step into our defense, so it is very simple. Anthony Weaver is a big hit for us, so he has to come in and do some big things for us."
When asked whether he thought Edwards will play well, Lewis replied: "I don't know. Live bullets are something totally different."

CONTRACT UPDATES: Former Pro Bowl running back Jamal Lewis is off his game after a tumultuous offseason that included a prison sentence for a drug crime and surgery on his right ankle.

He denied Wednesday that his unsettled contract situation is affecting his play. Lewis is in the final year of a six-year, $35.3 million contract.

"No, not really," said Lewis, who's being paid $3.58 million this year. "Of course, it plays a role in your head because you don't know where you're going to be next year or what's going to happen.

"The only thing I have control of is going out there and running the football. I'm not really thinking about it. Money is not an issue."

The Ravens might designate Lewis as their franchise player after the season, meaning they would have to pay him the average of the top five running back salaries. However, Lewis wouldn't receive a signing bonus under that scenario.

Lewis ranks 37th in the NFL in rushing with 138 yards on 55 carries and is on pace to rush for a career-low 736 yards.

"I'm getting paid and I'm getting paid well," Lewis said. "Over time, you've done things to build you what you want for your future and the goals you set for yourself five and six years ago, but I'm still under contract.

"So, it doesn't really matter. Things have been put out there by other people, but not by me."

Safety Ed Reed, who has two years remaining on his rookie deal, is waiting for a contract proposal, too. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year is making $581,500 this season.

"That's neither here, nor there," Reed said. "When the deal is done, the deal is done. I can't focus on money. When that happens, it happens, but I can't focus on it because it could cause a distraction."

TRAINING ROOM: Fullback Alan Ricard aggravated his calf injury against the New York Jets and is listed as questionable.

Ricard didn't practice along with tight end Todd Heap, who was sent home with an illness. Heap, who is also nursing an ankle injury, is listed as probable.

Quarterback Kyle Boller and Weaver are out with toe injuries and are wearing matching black protective boots.

"Boots are in this fall," Weaver quipped.

ROGERS SUSPENDED: Troubled Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating its substance-abuse policy.

"I will make no excuses for what I did and I accept full responsibility for my actions," Rogers said in a statement released by the Lions. "I let down a lot of people, mainly myself."

This depletes the Lions' talented receiving corps. Although Rogers apologized to teammates, it doesn't sound like all of them accepted his explanation.

"He knew what he was doing," offensive tackle Jeff Backus told Detroit reporters. "It's a letdown, but we move forward."

FAMILIAR FACE: Kevin Johnson, the Ravens' leading receiver last season with 35 catches, is tied with Roy Williams for the most catches on the Lions with 10 receptions for 85 yards. Johnson wanted out of Baltimore after one year, and his contract was terminated.

"It's going to be fun going against K.J.," Reed said. "We all know what he's capable of. It's going to be fun, challenging and exciting."

GAG ORDER: The offensive line, which was criticized heavily after both losses, continues to show solidarity in their silence. They are refusing to conduct interviews, a move that was apparently spurred by offensive tackle Orlando Brown.

One blocker said that the media boycott could last the entire year. The line played much better against the Jets, allowing no sacks.

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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