Lewis barred by NFL from team complex

Updated: October 20, 2004, 8:58 PM ET
Associated Press

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick wants the NFL to amend the rule that forbids running back Jamal Lewis from appearing at the team's training complex during his two-week suspension.

Jamal Lewis
Running Back
Baltimore Ravens
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
105 494 4 1 46 0

Lewis was suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy after he pleaded guilty on Oct. 7 to using a phone to set up a drug buy in 2000.

He will miss Baltimore's home game against Buffalo on Sunday and a game in Philadelphia on Oct. 31. Lewis can maintain contact with the Ravens by phone during his suspension, but is not permitted to enter the training complex.

"We can talk to him, but he's not allowed to be in the building, which I really think has to be revisited during the offseason," Billick said Wednesday. "When you have an athlete in this position, this is when he needs the organization most. He needs to be around the counseling and the mentoring we have here.

"To totally isolate a guy from the team, I don't think is in the best interest of the team, it's not in the best interest of the athlete, it's not in the best interest of the league."

Lewis has remained in touch with the Ravens during his suspension, Billick said, and is focused on staying in football shape during his absence.

"We know where he's at," Billick said. "He's working out hard, he's in the right atmosphere."

Lewis ran for 2,066 yards last year, the second-highest single-season total in NFL history. This season he's got 494 yards rushing on 105 carries.

He will be replaced in the backfield by Chester Taylor, who has run for 164 yards on 28 carries this season. Taylor will be backed up by Musa Smith, who has yet to carry the ball this year.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press