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Heavyweight Champ Addresses Ravens

June 13, 2001

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) _ From one champion to another, Hasim Rahman addressed the Baltimore Ravens after the team finished its minicamp practice Wednesday.

Rahman completed his Rocky-like climb to the top of the boxing world in April, earning the IBF and WBC heavyweight belts by knocking out Lennox Lewis in the fifth round of their title bout in South Africa.

The Ravens never had a winning record before last season, when they went 12-4 before winning four straight in the playoffs, including a 34-7 rout of the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

Ravens coach Brian Billick has occasionally brought guest speakers to practice, and Rahman was someone with whom the players could relate.

``We’re in the same boat. He has to defend his title every time out on the canvas, and we have 16 weeks,″ Billick said. ``I told the guys, ‘You think you’re under pressure?’ It’s not like 80 games in basketball. We’re defending Super Bowl champions every time we step on the field.‴

Linebacker Ray Lewis, the 2000 Defensive Player of the Year and the MVP in the Super Bowl, missed practice because of a minor foot injury. Defensive tackle Sam Adams sat out a second straight day with a sprained toe, and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa was excused because of a business venture he had in Canada.

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