Q&A with Jamal Lewis

Player Spotlight Name: Jamal Lewis Position: Running back College: University of Tennessee Measurables: 5-foot-11, 235 pounds Age: 23 Hometown: Atlanta, Ga. Acquired: Lewis was drafted in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft with the fifth overall selection after his junior season.

Resume: Lewis ranks seventh in the AFC in rushing with 1,092 yards to go along with six touchdowns. He has also caught 40 passes for 404 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown jaunt in last week's 37-25 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Lewis became the Ravens' career rushing leader this fall, passing Kansas City Chiefs star Priest Holmes. Lewis set a franchise record with a 75-yard run against the Cleveland Browns, tying his career high with 187 yards that game. Lewis missed all of last season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during training camp in Westminster. As a rookie, Lewis set the Ravens' single-season rushing mark with 1,364 yards for the Super Bowl champions.

Role against Houston: Lewis sets the tempo for the Ravens' offense. He'll be needed heavily against an active Texans defense that includes former Baltimore linebacker Jamie Sharper. Look for Lewis to run often to the left behind Jonathan Ogden and Edwin Mulitalo, and occasionally sneak out of the backfield on swing passes.

Ravens Insider: "What's your impression of the Texans' defense?"

Lewis: "Last week, they won mostly off of turnovers. That's one of those things you can't do is turn the ball over a lot. They play a pretty sound defense. They have some strong guys. I think that's the strength of their team. We really have to play well and do what we do best."

Ravens Insider: "Do you feel like you're emerging as a receiving threat?"

 Lewis: "A lot of teams don't respect me in the passing game because they don't throw me the ball like that. This is part of the game."

Ravens Insider: "How satisfying was it to complete that 77-yard score coming off the surgery?"

Lewis: "Like I said, the surgery is all behind me. That's not even an element of what's going on right now. I feel like I'm getting my feet back. I'm not getting lucky, but things are working out in my favor."

Ravens Insider: "How troubling is it to gain a fumbler's reputation after coughing up seven this season?"

Lewis: "I don't think I'm gaining a reputation as a fumbler. I'm not even thinking about it. That's not me. That's all behind me. Name me a running back who hasn't fumbled in the past. You can't think about it. You can't dwell on it. It's like a quarterback throwing an interception or a linebacker missing a tackle. You've got to put it behind you."

Ravens Insider: "How is your body holding up this late in the season after 253 carries?"

Lewis: "I'm feeling great. I'm feeling better right now than I did at the same time my rookie year. I'm more experienced. I know how to take care of my body."

Ravens Insider: "How do you cope with the knowledge that you have to win the last three to make the playoffs?

Lewis: "You wish you didn't have to deal with that kind of pressure, but we've been put in that position a lot of times. We know how to deal with it and handle it. We need to correct our mistakes. It's a big game. We're going to try to put up points and have a balanced attack."


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