Lewis should worry about Ravens, not Tebow

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…While Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner insists he did not lose any weight, the fact that he at least appeared to be trimmer this weekend at the team’s minicamp is good news for head coach Mike Smith. The 5-10, 244-pound former Charger clearly was carrying extra bulk with him last season, which may have contributed to his slow start and the ankle injury he suffered during the season, thwarting the Falcons’ bid to make back-to-back playoff appearances.

The 28-year-old had a monster first season in Atlanta in 2008, carrying the rock 376 times for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns before going through a rocky start to ’09. Seemingly ready to rebound and get back to his punishing and explosive ways, he broke down. The hope is that he is recharged and physically more fit to carry the load.

“I’ve been here doing a little extra cardio. I changed my eating habits a little bit,” Turner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’ve just really been staying on top of it this offseason because that’s when you tend to eat more junk food and things like that. I’m just trying to get in the habit of eating healthy and get that conditioning part out of the way so I don’t have to worry about it later on.”

With a fit and healthy Turner, there’s no reason to believe the Falcons can’t finish above .500 once again and even improve on their 9-7 mark the last two seasons.

…By now I’m sure everyone has heard about Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis questioning the hype surrounding new Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow leading up to the draft. In case you missed the story, during an interview on ESPN Radio, the former Miami Hurricane star said he was “shocked” by the treatment of the former Florida Gator, who ranks first in the NFL in jersey sales.

“The thing I was more shocked by, is you see all the people who were willing to help him,” Lewis said. “I don’t know many people who were willing to help other athletes like that. Jon Gruden loved him to death. You see all these people who took out their personal time to really work with him and make this [a] big issue, big issue, big issue. I don’t know why he was any different than anyone else.

“Every young child has that dream, that same dream that Tebow had. So I don’t know why he was bigger … than any of the other guys. He went to a big program, and, yes, he might be a favorable person, but nobody else in the league, definitely not veteran players, see themselves differently than any other player.”

There’s no question that Tebow was one of the most polarizing draft prospects of all-time, and Tebow-mania likely became more than enough for football fans to handle.

But doesn’t Lewis realize that his popularity at the college level — and the controversy that surrounded his draft-worthiness — was rather unique compared to other draft prospects? I understand that Lewis feels that Tebow was essentially just like any other prospect in that each player should have been subjected to the same treatment and scrutiny during the draft process. But in Tebow’s case, because he was a quarterback, a former Heisman winner and very successful on the college level, there was genuine concern about how those accolades and his overall ability would be able to translate to the next level. It made all the sense in the world for him to receive extra attention.

And didn’t Tebow receive his fair share of criticism throughout this process?

In regard to Gruden, didn’t he love every prospect on the board?

I think Lewis should be more concerned with how much stronger his Ravens have become this offseason and less about a rookie quarterback.

By the way, the Broncos visit the Ravens on Oct.10.

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