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Ray Lewis: What a lightweight

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Ray Lewis: What a lightweight

When Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis met with reporters at the teams minicamp last month, he looked lighter than usual and hinted that he planned to play at a lighter weight in 2012.

Boy, did he follow through on that.

When he met with reporters Wednesday on the eve of the teams first full-squad training camp practice, Lewis looked startlingly lighter and admitted he might have reached a new low threshold.

This is definitely probably the lightest Ive been since I walked into Baltimore in 1996, Lewis said.

After playing at 250 pounds last season, Lewis is listed at 240 this season and admitted even that was too much.

Yeah, Im probably a little lighter (than 240). Im probably a lot lighter than 240, he said with a smile.

That means he might be as low as 230, which, for the record, is just five pounds heavier than safety Bernard Pollard.

Lewis refused to divulge his exact weight.

I keep that to myself, he said, continuing to smile. You cant share everything. Im at a good weight, a good playing weight.

He repeated the explanation for his dramatic weight-loss that he gave last month: that he needs to be faster to remain effective in todays pass-happy NFL.

The game has changed, he said. The game is no longer about 250, 260-pound fullbacks, and offenses running it 23 30 40 times (a game). The game has changed. Its all based on matchups now. People want to find mismatches here and there, so you just change with the game. If everyone can run (it comes down to) who cant run? So for me, that was what my thought process was coming into this next year.

The news that Lewis might possibly play as much as 20 pounds lighter this season will certainly make the rounds in the NFL. Although he earned yet another Pro Bowl selection in 2011, he did struggle at times in passing situations and even found himself being picked on for probably the first time in his career.

Playing a lighter weight is his attempt to adjust, and the issue will be whether he remains powerful enough to remain effective against opposing blockers and runners.

Lewis believes this is the only way to go at age 37.

I had a couple of coaches over the years (giving) great advice that was shared with me: the later you get (in your career), the lighter you play, he said. You just feel better. Because you have the wisdom to go off and do whatever you want to do. But I just think playing lighter is much smarter for me.

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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USA TODAY Sports

As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER

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Heisman Trophy winner turned backup, Robert Griffin III fully embracing new role with Ravens

Heisman Trophy winner turned backup, Robert Griffin III fully embracing new role with Ravens

Robert Griffin III went from Heisman Trophy winner, to second-overall pick, to Offensive Rookie of the Year, to unemployed, to backup quarterback all in the matter of six years.

That's a rollercoaster of a career for a 28-year old, but RGIII is fully embracing the opportunity the Ravens have presented him with.

“I feel like I knew coming into this situation that this is Joe’s [Flacco] team," Griffin said at a press conference Wednesday.

"I understood that when I came in to work out; I understood that when I signed. I’m excited about the opportunity to learn from him. Whatever capacity the coaches ask me to help, that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to compete, and I’m here to get better every single day – work hard. I think they saw that from me in the workout and in our general conversations together. I think they realize I’m ready for the opportunity and I’m ready for this role – whatever that role may be.”

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER

Finding a backup quarterback that you can put some faith in during a time of desperation in today's league is a hard find, with the exception of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. 

While Griffin hasn't played since January of 2017, he offers legitimate experience that isn't being offered by typical backups. 

 "I feel like I’ve been able to get a better grasp of how to play the game in the NFL, what coaches are looking for. I think that’s a benefit, whereas in 2012 when I came in, it was more so learning everything on the fly and just going out and playing. Now I feel like I have to ability to go out and play and also know what I’m doing, be able to protect myself better, get the ball to the guys that need to get the ball and help a team win – in whatever way that is.”

The Ravens signed RGIII on a one-year contract worth $1 million - we're assuming- with hopes he'll never see the field during the regular season. Griffin made it clear he understands that role, but is looking forward to learning how to lead a team under a ten-year veteran. 

RELATED: RAVENS 2018 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

“Most of my interactions with Joe have been at midfield. I really do look forward to getting in the quarterback room with him. It’s a great opportunity for me. I still feel like I’m a young player. I’m 28, but I feel like I’m 25. He’s been through a lot of things in his career, been to the pinnacle and won a Super Bowl – Super Bowl MVP. I think that’s a great opportunity for me to learn and learn from him, and to just see the way that he attacks the game of football, the way he attacks the meeting room, practice, interacting with teammates – all those types of things – the way he leads." 

The RGIII saga in Baltimore is an open book right now, one that could come with an interesting ending.