Only a few short weeks before the Baltimore Ravens open their training camp for the 2009 season, All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis has gone on record as saying he has serious doubts that anyone on the team is feeling him.
"Nobody, man," said the perennial Pro Bowler to a Baltimore radio show host when asked who he thought might be feeling him. "Usually by this time of year, everybody's feeling Ray, you know what I'm saying? It's time to crank it up, you know what I mean?"
"But so far, I got nothing. Nobody's feeling me, man."
When asked why he thought that was, Lewis was introspective.
"I don't know, man. These young guys ... Shoot, when I was a young player in this league, I couldn't wait to be feeling some of the older guys. I felt Rod Woodson. I felt Bennie Thompson. Hell, I even felt Dilfer once or twice."
"But these new guys, they don't care about feeling the veterans who ask them if they're being felt."
"It's just a shame."
Second-year quarterback Joe Flacco seemed to take Lewis' comments in stride.
"Look, I'm feeling Ray, and I'm sure most of the team is feeling him, as well. But I just think it's too early to worry about who's feeling who right now."
"It's a long season, and quite frankly, there will be plenty of time to feel each other as the year goes on."
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome seemed to put it all in perspective.
"Ray's always been eager to get felt. It's one of the things that makes him such a fierce competitor, and one of the reasons why he's been a leader on our team."
"But no matter what else you hear, I can tell you this for a fact: Whether it's on the practice field, during the game, or in the showers after the game, there is not one player in this league who wants to be felt more than Ray Lewis."