OWINGS MILLS, MD. (Feb. 28, 2007) -- Running back Jamal Lewis, the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2003, was cut by the Baltimore Ravens.
General manager Ozzie Newsome said the team still hoped to re-sign him.
Lewis ran for 2,066 yards in 2003, the second-highest total in NFL history. His numbers slipped after that -- his 1,132 yards last season were his most since then, although he gained only 3.6 yards per carry
Lewis, 27, spent the 2005 offseason serving time in prison after a guilty plea to using a cell phone to set up a drug buy. He also has had ankle problems.
The Ravens' first pick in the 2000 draft, Lewis was due a large roster bonus on March 3. The Ravens have spent the past week negotiating with Mitch Frankel, his agent for a deal that would be more cap friendly.
"There has been good dialogue," Newsome said. "Jamal has been a significant contributor to us in the last seven seasons. It's our hope to have him back with the Ravens."
Still, releasing Lewis, creates millions in cap room. Baltimore is now roughly $11.3 million under the league salary-cap limit of $109 million.
Last week, the Ravens decided not to assign a franchise tag to Pro Bowl linebacker Adalius Thomas, ensuring his eventual departure as a high-priced free agent.
If the Ravens part ways with Lewis, it would leave their backfield with only veteran Mike Anderson, who carried only 39 times for 183 yards last season. Also on the roster is P.J. Daniels, a fourth-round draft pick from Georgia Tech who didn't get into a game as a rookie last season.
The Associated Press News Service
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