Friday, March 7, 2014
This date in Baltimore Ravens history
By Jamison Hensley
Seven years ago today, the Baltimore Ravens watched their all-time leading rusher go to a division rival.
On March 7, 2007, Jamal Lewis signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens had cut Lewis a week earlier to avoid paying him a $5 million roster bonus.
Picked No. 5 overall in the 2000 NFL draft, Lewis rushed for 7,801 yards for the Ravens and scored 45 touchdowns. This still stands as the most rushing yards in Ravens history and is 1,621 yards more than Ray Rice, who ranks second.
Lewis' best season was 2003, when he gained 2,066 yards -- the third-highest season total in NFL history behind Eric Dickerson (1984) and Adrian Peterson (2012). He was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year and was selected to his only Pro Bowl.
During the 2000 Super Bowl season, Lewis carried the Ravens' offense down the stretch. In the final two months of the season, he averaged 119 yards rushing and accounted for nearly half the team's offensive production.
Lewis finished out his career by playing three seasons with the Browns, gaining over 1,000 yards in 2007 and 2008. The Ravens traded three draft picks (third-round picks in 2007 and 2008 and a seventh-rounder in 2007) to the Buffalo Bills for Willis McGahee, who gained over 700 yards rushing in just one of his four seasons in Baltimore.