Jamal Lewis was back at Baltimore Ravens training camp, talking about ''moving forward'' and looking fit enough to do it through linebackers.
Still, he couldn't hide his bitterness over a drug case that landed him four months in a federal prison and two months in a halfway house.
''I'm back doing what I like to do, doing what I do best,'' said Lewis, who pleaded guilty to charges he used a cell phone in 2000 to arrange a drug deal for a friend. No deal ever took place.
''I'm not a bad person. It's just me moving forward. I'm not looking back on the past and the things I just went through. My next step is really just prove people wrong, the people that doubt me and think I'm not in the shape I'm supposed to be.''
Except for a tender right ankle, Lewis, who turns 26 later this month, is in excellent condition. He weighs around 240 pounds, about five pounds less than his listed weight in the media guide, and looks fit as ever.
Lewis is expected to put on pads and practice with the Ravens for the first time Wednesday. After running on his own Tuesday, he spoke for 12 minutes in front of a half-dozen TV cameras and more than a dozen microphones.
Lewis couldn't disguise his feelings about the court case that ruined his offseason and last year earned him a two-game suspension and the loss of $761,000 in wages. He seemed especially upset that the government waited nearly five years to take action against him.
''It was just a case of, I was a high-profile guy and somebody just wanted to pull on me a little bit,'' he said. ''The statute of limitations was coming up, it was the brink of a great season, things were looking up, so hey, you just put it together.''
Lewis ran for only 1,006 yards last year, less than half the amount he amassed in 2003, when he won the NFL rushing title with 2,066 yards the second-highest total in league history. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl for the first time and was voted Offensive Player of the Year.
Quarterback Chad Pennington and newly signed cornerback Ty Law will not play in the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions on Friday.
Coach Herman Edwards said Tuesday that he wants to be careful with his players, both of whom are coming off serious injuries and working themselves back into game shape.
''We didn't want to take a chance to have a setback when everything was going so well,'' said Pennington, who is recovering from a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that caused him to miss minicamp and offseason training. Pennington has generally been alternating between days off and participating in afternoon practices after throwing in each of the first five days of camp. He practiced for the second straight day Tuesday.
Law, who signed a multiyear deal with the Jets on Monday, had surgery in January to repair ligament damage in his broken left foot. He took part in light drills on Monday and Tuesday, but hasn't gone through a full practice.
Terrell Owens missed practice Tuesday for the fourth time in five days because of a left groin injury.
Owens is day to day, and the injury isn't considered serious. He's had groin problems in the past.
Owens sat out practices last Friday and Saturday. He returned on Sunday for both the morning and afternoon sessions, but hasn't been on the field since.
Owens had 77 receptions for 1,200 yards and a franchise-record 14 touchdowns last year before severely injuring his ankle late in the season. He missed the final two regular-season games and the first two playoff games before returning for the Super Bowl, in which he had nine receptions for 122 yards.
Several other Eagles didn't practice Tuesday, including running backs Correll Buckhalter (knee) and Ryan Moats (concussion).
The Eagles also announced that wide receiver Todd Pinkston underwent surgery to repair the ruptured Achilles' tendon in his right ankle. Pinkston who started with Owens last year, will miss the season.
Maurice Clarett missed another practice Tuesday while he had an MRI on his sore right groin.
The rookie third-round draft pick has missed several of Denver's training camp practices with injuries. He was listed fifth at running back on the depth chart, released this week by the Broncos, behind Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell, Quentin Griffin and Ron Dayne.
''It's the same thing. The groin's sore,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ''Hopefully it's not too serious, but if it is, we'll take the proper procedure to heal it.''
Clarett, the last player taken in the third round, has a contract filled with incentives, making the injury even more important. The deal did not include a signing bonus.
Cornerback Dwight Anderson, who had been competing for the St. Louis Rams nickel back job, was released Tuesday for violating team rules.
Coach Mike Martz would not comment on the nature of the transgression. A Rams employee said Anderson missed curfew over the weekend.
''It's purely a situation that occurred that regretfully, I felt like I needed to do that,'' Martz said. ''I hated that we had to do this but I felt I had to do it.
''We have some rules that were affected and we chose to release him.''
Anderson was one of two undrafted rookies to spend the entire season with the Rams last year, along with defensive tackle Brian Howard. He played in 12 games and had 10 special teams tackles, tied for fifth on the team.
Left guard Lawrence Smith is expected to be placed on injured reserve because of a knee injury.
Coach Mike Mularkey said Tuesday that Smith will likely have surgery on the right knee he hurt during a practice against the Packers last Friday. Mularkey didn't specify the nature of the injury, but it's believed to be a torn ligament.
Smith started eight games for Buffalo last season and figured to back up Bennie Anderson, a free agent who signed with the Bills in the spring.
Antrel Rolle, the kind of aggressive, physical defender coveted by Cardinals coach Dennis Green, agreed to a six-year contract.
The University of Miami cornerback, Arizona's first-round draft selection at No. 8, missed nine days of training camp, including 14 practices and a mock game. But he arrived in the Phoenix area Tuesday morning, had a physical and was expected at camp in time for team meetings in the evening.
Once he gets up to speed, Rolle is expected to start at left cornerback. Paired with right cornerback David Macklin, he should give the Cardinals their most solid secondary since Aeneas Williams played for them in the '90s.
The Cardinals also released record-setting quarterback Tim Chang, running backs Larry Croom and Roger Robinson, and cornerback Clarence Curry.
Chang finished his career at Hawaii with NCAA records for attempts (2,436), completions (1,388) and yards passing (17,072). But he was undersized by NFL standards for the position at 6-foot-1, and was passed over in the draft.
Offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb became the first New Orleans player seriously injured during training camp when he hurt his right knee.
''He was in a goal line situation and he just twisted it. It's bad,'' coach Jim Haslett said.
Stinchcomb was taken to a hospital for further examination. More should be known Wednesday about the injury.
Stinchcomb, a second-round draft choice from Georgia two years ago who has played very little, was pushing 12-year veteran Wayne Gandy to start at left tackle.
The Colts returned to training camp weary, hot and hurting after an exhausting weekend trip to Tokyo and a 27-21 loss to Atlanta.
Coach Tony Dungy said the fatigue was expected after a trip that included two flights, more than 25 hours and a 14-hour time difference.
Players wilted Tuesday under the heat and humidity.
Linebacker Gilbert Gardner had to be carted off the field after dropping to one knee midway through practice, overcome by the heat. Dungy also canceled Wednesday morning's practice without an explanation, although the team is expected to work out in the afternoon.
Donnie Edwards missed practice Tuesday due to a sprained ankle, and he and fellow linebacker Shawne Merriman probably won't play in the Chargers' exhibition opener at Green Bay on Thursday night.
Edwards, who led the Chargers with 151 tackles and five interceptions last year, sprained his right ankle on Monday.
Merriman, the 12th pick in the NFL draft, had a toenail removed on Monday, and he strained a hamstring on Saturday.
Peninsula Clarion ©2015. All Rights Reserved.