October 31, 2014

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Healthy Lewis expects return to his old form

BEREA — Jamal Lewis rushed for 1,132 yards last season with the Baltimore Ravens, but said he was never fully healthy.
Considering how productive Lewis was with a gimpy ankle, the Browns are confident he will put up much bigger numbers this fall.
“I was around 80 percent last year, but if I got medication, I might have been 90 percent at times,” he joked Tuesday. “I feel so much better now. I’m making cuts I haven’t made for the last two years.
“By training camp, I will be 100 percent, and we’ll see how everything goes.”
Thus far, things have gone swimmingly for the 27-year-old running back, who signed a one-season deal worth $3.5 million with Cleveland on March 7. His salary could increase to $5 million with incentives.
Despite undergoing surgery on his ailing right ankle during the offseason — his second ankle operation in three years — Lewis has been an active participant in the Browns’ first six optional offseason workouts in Berea.
The sessions resumed Tuesday after a three-day break, but the mini-vacation did nothing to stop the continued progress of the 5-foot-11, 245-pound bruiser.
“We thought about slowing Jamal down (as a precaution), but he didn’t want to be slowed down,” Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. “He’s picking up the offense and has been able to get into the action right away. That’s a good sign for all of us.”
Another good sign is the way the perennial Pro Bowler raves about Cleveland’s offense.
After spending his first seven NFL seasons with Baltimore, Lewis said he was ready for a change. He’s found it under rookie offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and the basic, yet deceptive, scheme he is installing.
“They disguise a lot of things and there’s a lot of moving around guys in the box,” he said. “It’s different for me learning a new system, but I learn pretty well and I learn pretty fast, so it won’t be a problem.”
Lewis, who is one of just five players in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, owns the single-game record with 295 against the Browns. He is almost as well known for serving jail time in 2005 on a federal drug conspiracy sentence.
All of that — both good and bad — is in the past now after his move to Cleveland.
But one thing about Lewis is certain to stay the same: his hard-nosed running style.
“It’s just like with Baltimore, they’ll be a lot of pounding up in the middle with a fullback leading the way,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of downhill plays here, too. That’s what I do best.”
Brian Dulik
The Chronicle-Telegram
BEREA — Jamal Lewis rushed for 1,132 yards last season with the Baltimore Ravens, but said he was never fully healthy.
Considering how productive Lewis was with a gimpy ankle, the Browns are confident he will put up much bigger numbers this fall.
“I was around 80 percent last year, but if I got medication, I might have been 90 percent at times,” he joked Tuesday. “I feel so much better now. I’m making cuts I haven’t made for the last two years.
“By training camp, I will be 100 percent, and we’ll see how everything goes.”
Thus far, things have gone swimmingly for the 27-year-old running back, who signed a one-season deal worth $3.5 million with Cleveland on March 7. His salary could increase to $5 million with incentives.
Despite undergoing surgery on his ailing right ankle during the offseason — his second ankle operation in three years — Lewis has been an active participant in the Browns’ first six optional offseason workouts in Berea.
The sessions resumed Tuesday after a three-day break, but the mini-vacation did nothing to stop the continued progress of the 5-foot-11, 245-pound bruiser.
“We thought about slowing Jamal down (as a precaution), but he didn’t want to be slowed down,” Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. “He’s picking up the offense and has been able to get into the action right away. That’s a good sign for all of us.”
Another good sign is the way the perennial Pro Bowler raves about Cleveland’s offense.
After spending his first seven NFL seasons with Baltimore, Lewis said he was ready for a change. He’s found it under rookie offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and the basic, yet deceptive, scheme he is installing.
“They disguise a lot of things and there’s a lot of moving around guys in the box,” he said. “It’s different for me learning a new system, but I learn pretty well and I learn pretty fast, so it won’t be a problem.”
Lewis, who is one of just five players in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, owns the single-game record with 295 against the Browns. He is almost as well known for serving jail time in 2005 on a federal drug conspiracy sentence.
All of that — both good and bad — is in the past now after his move to Cleveland.
But one thing about Lewis is certain to stay the same: his hard-nosed running style.
“It’s just like with Baltimore, they’ll be a lot of pounding up in the middle with a fullback leading the way,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of downhill plays here, too. That’s what I do best.”