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Ravens sign Jamal Lewis for three years

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (March 13, 2006) -- Running back Jamal Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens reached agreement on a three-year contract, less than 24 hours after the team added free agent Mike Anderson to improve a running game that struggled last season.

Lewis rushed for a career-low 906 yards in 2005 after serving a four-month federal prison sentence on a drug charge and undergoing offseason ankle surgery.

Lewis, the franchise's career leading rusher with 6,669 yards, became a free agent in January. The Ravens considered, then decided against, applying the franchise tag to him. Lewis then passed up a two-year, incentive-laden offer from Baltimore that included a signing bonus.

"We are so excited to have Jamal back," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "If you look at his history, he always rebounds in a big way from adversity. He had a tough 2005 that started with surgery, his incarceration, and then dealing with all of the turmoil during the season with the contract hanging over his head. We expect big things from him."

Anderson was expected to sign a four-year contract March 13. Anderson, 32, ran for 1,014 yards and scored 12 touchdowns for Denver last season.

Anderson will likely fill the void left by the departure of Chester Taylor, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent on March 11.

The agreement with Lewis capped a whirlwind three days for the Ravens, who lost four free agents over a 72-hour period: Taylor to the Vikings, punter Dave Zastudil to Cleveland, nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu to the Carolina Panthers and defensive end Tony Weaver to the Houston Texans.

But Baltimore added free agent defensive tackle Justin Bannan, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, and free agent defensive end Trevor Pryce, a four-time Pro Bowler with the Broncos.

In addition, the Ravens re-signed linebacker Bart Scott to a three-year contract.

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