Billick: R. Lewis, Reed will return in 2005

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick dismissed the possibility that injured middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed might miss the remainder of the season. Lewis has missed the past two games with a thigh injury and Reed has missed the last three with a high-ankle sprain, and it's unclear when they'll play again.

"I have not been told by anybody that there is that possibility," Billick said. "They are both making progress. No one has intimated to me -- them, our doctors, trainers -- that it is something we ought to consider."

Both players have already been declared out for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's possible that Reed may return sooner than Lewis, whom Billick declared last week that he could be out until Dec. 4 when Baltimore plays the Houston Texans.

With the Ravens (2-6) highly unlikely to make the playoffs, there's a reduced sense of urgency to rush back the past two NFL Defensive Players of the Year. Neither player has conducted interviews since they got hurt.

"I am hesitant to give you any kind of time frame on either one of them because I don't know how they're improving, how much they've improved or what the time table is," Billick said. "It would be a guess on my part."

TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens downgraded fullback Ovie Mughelli (ankle) from probable to questionable, adding Billick (broken ribs) to the injury report as probable.

"The problem is I can't yell, which makes me useless out here," Billick quipped.

Nickel back Dale Carter (questionable, thigh), linebacker Terrell Suggs (questionable, thigh), safety B.J. Ward (questionable, thigh), tight end Daniel Wilcox (questionable, neck) all missed a portion of team drills.

Wide receiver Mark Clayton is progressing well after spraining his ankle weeks ago.

"He is moving around pretty well right now," Billick said.

The Jaguars added wide receiver Reggie Williams (concussion) as questionable. Safety Deke Cooper (shoulder) missed practice with an illness.

Running back Fred Taylor (ankle) remains doubtful and might not be available. He would be replaced by 6-foot-1, 250-pound converted fullback Greg Jones, who ran for 77 yards and a touchdown in his previous start against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We've cross-trained him," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said regarding Jones.

FAMILY BUSINESS: Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith, a former defensive assistant under Billick along with Del Rio, is more than an opposing coach to Billick. He's his brother-in-law.

"You don't think life's hell at home [if we lose]?" Billick said. "My mother-in-law is staying with me this month. So who gets top priority in the favorite son-in-law status has directly to do with the wins and losses.

"That's the great part of the game. You love those interactions."

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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