Ravens' Ryan: 'It's about all 11'

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan was offended by disgruntled former All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis' critical comments about the defense. Lewis griped recently about the Ravens' lack of bulk inside, a shortcoming that was addressed in the first round of the NFL draft with 6-foot-4, 340-pound Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

"I think that was unfortunate that Ray did that," Ryan said. "If you watch the film, Kelly Gregg is as good a tackle as there is in the league. Sometimes, you get frustrated.

"Ray is such a competitor he wants to win the Super Bowl every year. This is a team game, and it's about all 11, not just one."

Lewis, who is recovering from hamstring surgery and hasn't finished two of the past four seasons, emphasized his displeasure with not having massive defensive linemen like Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa on the roster.

"Absolutely, because of the way it did look, the way it appeared that he was questioning his teammates and questioning the scheme," said Ryan, when asked if Lewis' comments bothered him. "As a coach, I could sit here and lie and give you the policy about how we'll let that fly under the rug, but that's not how we operate.

"Generally, you really have to dig up something to say something negative about our defense since I've been here. Hopefully, we'll get Ray back in his with his teammates and we'll pull that rope in the same direction."

The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is believed to be unhappy about his contract, too.

Lewis is slated to make $5.5 million in base salary in 2006 with remaining salaries of $6.5 million apiece in 2007 and 2008 as the final $18.5 million of a $50 million contract he signed in 2002.

The Ravens haven't received trade overtures regarding Lewis, and team officials have said they have no intention of trading or releasing the seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

Aaron Wilson writes Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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