Ray Lewis didn’t actually speak Wednesday. It only was his first day back at practice.
But in light of linebacker Terrell Suggs' biceps tear possibly keeping him out of at least Sunday's game at the Washington Redskins, Lewis' return represented a silver lining.
Lewis, who tore his triceps Oct. 14, finally took the field and is eligible to return from the injured list for the Dec. 16 matchup with the Denver Broncos.
"I’m making progress. ... But the story shouldn’t be about me right now. We’re playing the Redskins Sunday, and I am not eligible to play," Lewis said in a statement released by the Ravens. "If I can help prepare my team in some way for that game, I will. When I know I will play in a game, or when I play in game, I will say more then.
“For right now, I am excited to be back on the field, and I do plan to play again this season. We’ll see how I continue to progress from here.”
Cornerback Lardarius Webb tore a knee ligament in the same game with Lewis. His replacement, Jimmy Smith, returned to practice Wednesday from groin surgery.
Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, playing all season with broken thumbs in casts, missed last week’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers because of a foot and ankle injury.
Lewis’ imminent return not only is much-needed on the field, but his presence alone is a morale boost.
"I feel good for him," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "I know that he is getting up there (in age) and he wants to play. ... There is not anybody out there who loves the game of football more than he does."
Running back Ray Rice's locker is in the corner with Lewis. They get plenty of time to make small talk.
"I tease him all the time about him being a modern day Superman, but there's only one person that could have pulled off what he's doing," Rice said. "He's not doing it for his name to be in the paper about him coming back. He's doing it solely because he loves this organization, loves his guys and loves being at war with us. He's our general. As he goes, we go."