WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) – Jamal Lewis shuffled carefully to his left, studied the blocking and burst through the middle untouched on his first carry at training camp since being released from prison.

The Baltimore Ravens’ star running back didn’t display his usual explosiveness Wednesday, not surprising, considering it was his first practice in pads following an offseason of legal turmoil.

The 2003 NFL Offensive Player of the Year served four months in federal prison and two months in a halfway house after pleading guilty to using a cell phone to arrange a cocaine deal.

Lewis reported to training camp Monday. On Wednesday, he took part in a few team drills, but didn’t participate in full-contact practice.

“He looked fresh, which is what you would expect after not being here for the first week,” Ravens coach Brian Billick said of Lewis, who was limited to a career-low 1,006 yards last season as he dealt with his legal problems and injuries. “We’ll just continue to push him through it, put him through his paces and see if we can get him to that next level of conditioning.”

After reporting at a lean 240 pounds, Lewis also needs to regain the timing and power that helped him rush for 2,066 yards – the second-highest total in league history – in 2003.

“I’ve had great seasons every year since I’ve been with the Ravens, and that should continue,” Lewis said. “Being that I’ve got (the legal trouble) off my back, I don’t think I’ll do anything less.”

The Ravens are taking a cautious approach with Lewis and will hold him out of their first preseason game Saturday against the Falcons. He’s more likely to play Aug. 20 against the Eagles.

“It was nice to have your No. 1 horse back there, the guy that’s going to get you 2,000 yards,” center Mike Flynn said. “He actually ran a few plays and gave us more than I thought he would.”

Lewis, 25, has been medically cleared to play, passing his physical after undergoing surgery on his right ankle this winter. He was removed from the physically unable-to-perform list, and the Ravens waived wide receiver Derek Abney to make room for him.

“Jamal looks like he’s in shape and prepared, considering his offseason circumstances,” wide receiver Derrick Mason said.

“He looks like he wants to play football and put everything behind him. Now, he can actually strap it on and nothing is holding him back.”


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