The Ravens began their mandatory veterans camp today as the team looked to put the finishing touches on its offense and defense before players report for training camp on July 31.
"They're six weeks away from training camp and they need to have a very clear-cut idea of where they are physically," coach Brian Billick said. "And for the most part they're in pretty good shape but they are not there yet, and they don't have to be the second week of June. "
Cornerback Deion Sanders was a surprise no-show as he had a "personal circumstance" he had to attend to but he is expected back Tuesday for the remainder of camp.
Running back Jamal Lewis, defensive end Terrell Suggs and kicker Matt Stover were all excused from camp. Lewis is spending the next two months in a halfway house in Atlanta while Suggs was suppossed to go on trial today in Phoenix, Ariz. for two counts of felony aggravated assault. Stover was excused for personal reasons.
Mark Clayton continues to be hampered by a hamstring injury but did participate some drills. Meanwhile, Musa Smith continues to recover after missing the final five games last season with a broken leg and has shown great progress.
"He is ahead of schedule based on what I can see, but I'll wait till training camp to see," Billick said. " We gotta be careful we don't get too far ahead of schedule."
Linebacker Ray Lewis spoke to the media for the first time, but was in no mood to discuss his current contract situation.
"There's an appropriate time to talk about everything and now is not the time to speak about a contract," Lewis said.
However, the excitement of switching to the 4-6 defense was not lost on him.
"My thing is bashing running backs, you know, and that's what I want to get back to, just having fun, and let them deal with me, and that's what the 4-6 package and this defense does," Lewis said.
The Ravens will complete their veterans camp on Thursday.
Notes: The Ravens concluded today's practice with a set of eight gassers. Billick ran the first five before deciding to be a spectator for the final three. "Well I don't think he made it to the seventh one, so [Mike] Tyson got him by a mile," said linebacker Adalius Thomas. "Hopefully he will run again."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times