Late for Work 4/8: Lewis Offers Cryptic Opinion on Season

Plus there’s no cure for boxing addictions; will it come down to Smith vs. Smith at 26?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, April 8th, 2011 at 9:20 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Lewis Offers Cryptic Opinion on Season

It’s challenging to get NFL player interviews during a labor impasse, especially with somebody like linebacker Ray Lewis.

But The Baltimore Sun’s Jamison Hensley tracked down Lewis at an autograph signing session at That Sports Store at the Harford Mall last night and asked the 15-year veteran if he believes there will be a full 2011 NFL season.

Lewis said he doesn’t have a gut feeling either way.

Asking “why not,” Hensley says he got this “cryptic” response:

“I don’t know. I’m more on the inside of it of talking to [NFL Players Association leader] DeMaurice Smith and talking to all those guys. But a lot of it, I’m totally away from them because I look at it totally different, and I’ll share that at another time.”

That leaves us wondering about his “totally different” outlook, but we may not want to hold our breath for more insight just yet.

Right now, Lewis says he is happy keeping busy and enjoying the first summer to himself in a long, long time.

“You have to have many things going on,” Lewis said about keeping busy during a work stoppage that began on March 12. “To me, this is probably the greatest window of opportunity I’ve ever had in my life. It’s been 25 years of my life that I’ve never had a summer to myself.”

He added, “When you get time off, you build something different. You don’t sit around and say, ‘If they lock us out, what are we going to do?’ What we’re going to do is I’m going to keep building empire after empire after empire.”

Lewis may have plenty more time to build those empires while mediation is stalled and both the league and owners await a federal court judgment on whether to grant an injunction to lift the NFL’s lockout.

As Hensley pointed out, Lewis is busy promoting his RL52 Style clothing line and a workout application available on iTunes. And if fans need a Lewis fix, they can come to “Ray’s Summer Days” next month.

Of course, the gazillion-time Pro Bowler also says he’s keeping in shape and is feeling completely healthy during an offseason that hasn’t required surgery or rehab.

NFL/NFLPA Agree to Mediation; But Not to Mediator

The NFL and NFLPA haven’t been able to agree on much lately, so it comes as no surprise that the two sides can’t agree on where and under whose supervision mediation should resume.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson urged both parties to resume talks while she takes a couple weeks to rule on the players’ request to lift the lockout and return to work.

Representatives from both the league and players sent letters to each other yesterday, saying they are ready to talk, but the players want to do it in Minnesota under the supervision of one of Nelson’s appointees and the league wants to return to Washington and work with federal mediator George Cohen, who has led three weeks of talks between the two sides.

Neither side is expected to agree to the other’s requests as they currently stand,” wrote ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“The NFL is determined to escape federal oversight on the next collective bargaining agreement. The NFLPA wants to keep the case in Minnesota, in Judge Nelson’s reach, in front of an appointee with more binding powers than Cohen.  Each side is willing to make baby steps. But a lot more steps are needed before there’s any substantial progress.”

Smith vs. Smith for Ravens?

“If you believe in the opinions of NFL draft experts, the Ravens are deliberating between a pair of players who man different positions but have the same last name,” wrote CSNBaltimore’s John Eisenberg.

Of course, Eisenberg is referring to the two most popular predictions for the Ravens’ first-round pick: Maryland receiver Torrey Smith and Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith.

Six respected draftniks say it will be Jimmy: ESPN’s Mel Kiper,’s Steve Wyche, Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks, the Sporting News’ Russ Lande and CBS Sports’ Rob Rang and Pete Prisco.

Five others say it will be Torrey: Charles Davis, Bucky Brooks and Pat Kirwan of, CBS Sports’ Chad Reuter, and’s Draft Muncher.

Torrey fills a need for speed and a downfield threat at receiver, but is a “reach,” according to Kiper, in the first round. Jimmy is regarded as a top-15 talent and has been compared to former Raven cornerback Chris McAlister because of his big body and physical play, but he has character concerns.

Who knows, maybe the Ravens could add two Smiths in the draft. If Torrey truly is a reach, he could still be on the board for Baltimore’s taking when it is on the clock again at No. 58.

Ed Zbikowski: No Cure for Boxing Addiction

Ed Zbikowski and his wife weren’t too keen on their 9-year-old son’s idea to start boxing.

They tried to steer him away by requiring him to pay the required $135 to train at a downtown gym for six months.

That didn’t work. Ed doesn’t know how, but little Tommy came up with the money.

Turning to a different tactic, mom and dad put their son in front of challengers that should have easily overpowered him and made him want to quit.

That didn’t work either. Tom beat his first opponent, who had 20 rounds more experience.

Next idea? Wear him down.

“My wife said, ‘Let’s burn him out,’” Ed told NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora. “That didn’t work. Next thing you know he has 20 fights on his card and then 40 fights. He loved it. …

There’s no cure for the addiction of boxing. It gets in your skin. It really is an addiction. You get hooked on it like a drug.”

Football may not necessarily be a cure, but at least it will be enough to lure Tom away from his professional boxing career (3-0) and back to Baltimore when the lockout is lifted.

“I do expect to play football this year,” Tom told the Sun. “I will report to the Ravens camp the day it begins.”

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