Ray Lewis isnt the only Ravens linebacker playing at a lighter weight in 2012.
Jameel McClain, who starts alongside Lewis, also is noticeably trimmer after spending the bulk of the offseason in high-caliber conditioning programs in California and New Jersey.
McClain, who joined the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2008 but signed a 10 million contract in March, is listed in the teams 2012 media guide at the same weight as a year ago 245 pounds. But when asked if he weighs around that figure, he said, Yeah, Im in the lower 240-245 range. Im in that range.
That sounds like 240, at least a five-pound drop. Its not as much as Lewis, who said this week he weighs less than he ever has since joining the Ravens in 1996. But its still a noticeable drop for McClain, who, like Lewis, felt he was too bulky to cover receivers in what is becoming a pass-happy NFL.
Getting it right, shedding some pounds, getting ready for this game that is changing, McClain said. I mean, we all know its becoming more of a passing league, so the goal is to try to stay out there (on the field) as long as you can and still stay strong and get all of those things done. Everybody wants to pass the ball; everyone wants to go no- huddle. So the 255-, 260-pound linebacker, I know those days are disappearing slowly but surely.
Ironically, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has decided to bulk up in 2012 because he felt he was getting pushed around a little too much last season, especially near the end of the season. By losing weight, Lewis and McClain certainly run more of a risk of getting bowled over in the running game, but they believe theyre on the right track.
Ir was his own decision, not the teams, to lose the weight, McClain said.
The great thing about this organization is they allow you to get get better yourself as a player, he said Were all going to do whats best for us (individually), but at the end of the day, when youre thinking about yourself, its always about the team. If I get better as a player, I help out the team."