OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Ravens running back Jamal Lewis was suspended for two games without pay for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, one day after pleading guilty to trying to set up a drug deal four years ago.
Lewis will not appeal the punishment and will miss the games in late October. He plans to play Sunday night at Washington. Lewis also was fined $761,000, equivalent to two weeks' salary "You have needlessly sullied your own reputation and reinforced unfair and negative public perceptions of NFL players generally," Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. "The long-term damage to your own reputation may well be even greater."
A drug-related legal violation is grounds for league discipline under the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
A player has five days to appeal a suspension. Though Lewis does not plan to appeal, Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said, he will use the five days to consult with his lawyers, allowing him to play against the Redskins. Baltimore is off next week.
Lewis will miss the Ravens' home game Oct. 24 against Buffalo and their game Oct. 31 in Philadelphia.
Under an agreement with prosecutors, he will not miss any playing time while serving his sentence of four months in federal prison and two months in a halfway house. The sentence will start after the regular season ends in January and conclude before the 2005 season begins in September.Short return for Ricky?
Running back Ricky Williams says he misses football but would only play one more season if he returns. In an interview that will appear in Esquire, Williams also said he regrets not talking with Miami coach Dave Wannstedt before he abruptly retired.
"I should have been man enough to have a conversation with Dave before all this happened," Williams said. "But I didn't. I got scared, and I just told him I was retiring. It just came out."
Earlier this week, Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, said his client had asked the NFL how soon he could return to play. The Dolphins are off to an 0-4 start without him.
Williams has acknowledged repeated violations of the NFL drug program. The Dolphins say their understanding is he must serve a suspension for the rest of this season if he tries to return.
BROWNS: Running back William Green hasn't lost his starting job yet. Green, who spent the entire second half of Cleveland's win over Washington last week on the sideline watching Lee Suggs, said he'll start at Pittsburgh. Because Green had just four carries for 17 yards and got pulled after halftime, there was speculation Suggs had jumped him on the depth chart.
Coach Butch Davis refused to reveal his starter, saying it didn't matter if Green or Suggs was the first on the field.
"Both of these guys will get their opportunities," Davis said. "The first play of the game doesn't make any difference."
COLTS: With kicker Mike Vanderjagt questionable because of a hamstring injury, Indianapolis signed former Giants kicker Matt Bryant. Vanderjagt did not kick Friday, but indicated that he still hopes to play against Oakland. He plans to test the leg today.
"We're leaning toward taking the safe route, the conservative route, and kicking Matt," coach Tony Dungy said.
GIANTS: Linebacker Wes Mallard will miss the rest of the season with knee injury. The third-year pro will need surgery after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at practice Thursday.