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Lewis, Boulware on Ravens’ Defense

June 10, 2002

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) _ At long last, Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware have taken their places in the Baltimore Ravens’ new 3-4 defense.

After skipping two voluntary passing camps, the two standout linebackers worked up a serious sweat Monday during the opening session of a four-day mandatory minicamp.

Stepping into a defense designed to maximize their abilities as well as camouflage a depleted front line, Lewis jockeyed between the two inside spots while Boulware lined up as the left outside linebacker.

``I think my role steps up a lot more, just because the defense is counting me to rush a lot more and get pressure on the quarterback,″ Boulware said. ``When we were in the 4-3, it was more of a coverage thing.″

The old alignment depended on a formidable line to occupy the opponent’s offensive front, leaving Lewis free to pick off the ball carrier. But with Tony Siragusa, Rob Burnett, Sam Adams, Lional Dalton and Larry Webster all gone, the Ravens will have to rely heavily on their linebackers _ especially Lewis.

Lewis and Boulware are now the voice of experience on a young defense depleted by salary-cap issues. That’s one reason why the pair created a stir by skipping both passing camps.

``It just got blown out of proportion. I think it was a lack of communication,″ Boulware said. ``I really didn’t think anything of it until I started hearing and reading stuff. Then it kind of got crazy.″

Both players are in the process of renegotiating their contracts, which has also been a touchy topic. The Ravens need to rework both deals to free up salary cap space, but Lewis and Boulware want no part of that responsibility.

``I don’t want to get into the business part of it. I’m playing football, I’m in camp,″ Lewis said.

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