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Late For Work 9/30: Ray Lewis, Big Ben Are Texting Buddies

Plus the Steelers are prepping for Ray Rice and keys to Sunday’s game.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, September 30th, 2010 at 8:52 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ray Lewis, Big Ben Are Texting Buddies. The latest text…

As AFC North rivals, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger simply don’t like each other. But that animosity turns into respect once the game clock strikes zero.

In fact, Lewis revealed yesterday that he is texting buddies with Big Ben.

The latest text between the AFC North foes came Tuesday night, five days before the showdown at Heinz Field, reported Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette.

“He hit [texted] me last night,” Lewis said. “We always hit each other.”

Roethlisberger would prefer Lewis had the chance to “hit” him on the football field rather than through the phone. Instead the Steelers’ quarterback will be on the sidelines while he finishes his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after being accused by a 20-year-old female college student of sexual assault.

“He wishes he was out there, he wishes he was out there, man,” Lewis related. “It’s a respect thing that we have playing against each other. It’s a rivalry, but, once again, it goes back to a level of respect.

“This aint the first time he texted me. We texted each other whenever he was going through what he was going through, I was there for him. It’s more of a brotherhood. The game always takes care of itself on the field, but off the field if we don’t look out for each other nobody else will.”

Lewis said he and Roethlisberger have been in contact since Roethlisberger’s legal troubles began last March. Lewis, who has endured off-field issues of his own, encouraged Roethlisberger to put his troubles behind him and move forward.

“You’re not trying to please the world; if you’re trying to please the world you’re going to confuse yourself,” Lewis explained. “If you’re going to worry what people say about you, you’re going to confuse yourself.

“All you can do is move on, live on and whatever he puts behind him as a man, and he puts behind him whatever he’s going through, leave it there. Don’t let nobody pull you back into it; don’t let nobody make you keep talking about it. Once it’s done, it’s done.”

Steelers ‘Won’t Be Fooled;’ Prepping For Rice

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin is aware of running back Ray Rice’s knee contusion, but Tomlin still believes it’s in his team’s best interest to prepare for Rice.

Tomlin “won’t be fooled by any rumors” of Rice’s condition, said National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson.

“We’re just going to prepare with the assumption that [Rice is] going to play,” Tomlin told Baltimore reporters during a conference call. “I think that’s the prudent approach to take.”

Even if Rice doesn’t play, Tomlin thinks the Ravens’ physical running style won’t change.

“In my opinion, their personality doesn’t change very much in terms of how they attack us,” Tomlin said. “That’s been my experience in competing with those guys. Whether it’s McClain as their featured running back, which we’ve seen, or it’s McGahee or it’s Ray Rice, they have a form and fashion in terms of how they attack us. Really, that’s what we’re preparing for.”

Teammates Prepping Boldin For Steelers’ Physicality

It’s not like receiver Anquan Boldin hasn’t seen the Steelers before. Ten of the 11 starters Boldin will face on Sunday are the same starters he played against in Super Bowl XLIII.

Still, Boldin’s teammates find it necessary to prepare him for Sunday’s unique experience.

“They told me that ‘it will be physical like no other game you’ve played in,’” Boldin told the NFL Network. “So you have to be prepared for that.”

For more on the fierce nature of Sunday’s matchup, several Ravens explain in the CSNBaltimore.com video below why this game is bigger than any other on their schedule. “We respect them, but we don’t like them,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said.

Keys To The Game – Pass Rush and Turnovers

The Steelers have two major advantages over Baltimore – the pass rush and turnovers. That’s why Pittsburgh is the 55-percent favorite, according to ESPN’s Countdown Daily AccuScore.

The Ravens can change that percentage if Flacco can handle the Steelers’ defensive pressure. If Flacco is sacked no more than twice, then the Ravens become 58-percent favorites.

Additionally, if Baltimore can win the turnover margin battle, then they become 70-percent favorites.

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