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Baltimore Ravens Team Store Pressbox

Ravens draft press conference 4/16/2000

Arthur Modell, Ozzie Newsome, Brian Billick, Phil Savage, Jamal Lewis, Travis Taylor

Art: It is with pleasure that we are here to introduce our two top choices who were kind enough to fly in today and visit with us to present themselves to you people. This is only a portion of what I think is an overwhelming draft that the Ravens have had. I think that these people's talents speak for themselves and they are going to make an immediate and total contribution to our success on the field. Again, I want to thank Phil and Ozzie and their entire staff for a job well done. I have been saying that for years and I am convinced more than ever as to their capabilities and their talents.

Ozzie: Because I have a little interest in what happens in the Southeastern Conference based on my alma mater. I have had the opportunity to watch these two young men over the past three football seasons. When Tennessee played Alabama for the first time in Tuscaloosa I was there along with Phil and had the opportunity to watch Jamal play live in the football game. I have had the opportunity to watch Travis for 3 years as we were watching Jaquez Green and other people who have come out of the University of Florida. I have a very good history with both of the players. They both interviewed with Brian and I at the combine. They both have been here to Baltimore for an additional physical and spent time with their position coaches. At this point, I just like to say I am happy to have both of them and I think they will be great addition to our football team.

Brian: The big thing obviously with these two guys is that they are coming out of systems where they were asked to do a lot of things in a pro style of play. So I think they will make the transition very quickly.

Travis Taylor: I am just happy to be here right now. It is a dream come true to play in the NFL and play with an organization such as the Baltimore Ravens. They have a great owner, coach and coaching staff. I am looking forward to the future. It is a great team and a great nucleus. I am looking forward to a great future and I think great things are going to happen.

Jamal Lewis: I feel the same as Travis. I am just glad that this organization, these coaches and the staff gave me the opportunity to come in. I am ready to come in and get the ball rolling and get started with the season.

Jamal, when you hurt your knee, did you think that one year down the road that you would be this high of a draft pick?

Jamal: Well, not really. When I hurt my knee I just wanted to rehab it and come back and get ready for the next season at the University of Tennessee. The NFL was not really on my mind. I just wanted to come back healthy and get it back 100% and just play football.

Did you two know each other at all prior to here?

Jamal: No, just from playing ball.

It was noted that running back and wide receiver were two positions.....?

Travis: In Jamal's case, he is a great running back. I have seen him do things at Tennessee. He is just a sight to see. I think both of us have an opportunity to come in here and contribute to the team. I think that is what coach is looking for us to do this year. Hopefully with a lot of hard work and dedication those dreams will be able to come true.

Jamal: Coming in at the 5th and 10th pick, there is a lot expected out of us. I think we are ready to take on those responsibilities. We want to come in and help the team win games.

On the Southeastern Athletic Conference:

Jamal: I think the SEC is a great conference to play in. It is like a lower caliber of a NFL type environment. The defensive players are fast and big and there is a lot that goes on out there on the field. On any given Saturday you never know what is going to happen. There is just a lot of great talent in the SEC.

Ozzie: My answer would have to be in regards to the weather. The climate is conducive for the young athletes to be out there 12 months out of the year. They are able to be involved in all different types of sports and it allows kids down there to mature as athletes moreso than in the northern part of the country, where you have to spend 4 to 5 months indoors. I think that is where the difference is. The colleges down there are able to recruit from a bigger pool of talent.

Jamal, can you talk a little about Cris Carter's speed camp?

Jamal: As soon as I signed with my agent, who is also Cris' agent, I learned about the program. It's just a strenuous program. You have to be dedicated and disciplined if you want to make progress. That is what I did before the combine. I got in shape and I was in the best shape of my life coming out of the camp. They focus on everything you need based on the game of football.

Was there more than just a physical commitment to the game or the NFL.....?

Jamal: There weren't too many NFL players down there while I was there. From just talking to Cris and other NFL players that I have worked out with in the past, you can learn a lot. They talk about the mental part more than anything else.

Travis, talk a little bit about Coach Spurrier's system or offense?

Travis: Coach Spurrier's offense is a pro offense. You have to read defenses on the run, always changing your routes, and there are a lot of check-offs. Coach Spurrier has always taught us the plays, formations and protections so that we knew everything about the whole offense.

Any additional similarities between Coach Spurrier and Coach Billick?

Travis: Most definitely (laugh from group). Both of them are offensive geniuses (sarcastic laughter from the group).

Billick: He did very well on the wonderlic test (laughter).

In light of all the things going on now in the NFL, do you guys feel a certain responsibility when you sign a contract?

Jamal: I believe so. You sign for an organization in the NFL and you want to go out and represent them. It is like representing your parents at home. You have to represent them well during the offseason and on the field. Travis: I'm in sort of different situation. I have a wife and daughter so whatever I do is going to reflect on those two. I have to always act in the best interest of my wife and my child. If I go out and get in trouble it will reflect on the kind of person I am. My parents raised me well and I would never do anything to reflect badly on my family's name.

Brian, were you aware Jamal was in Cris'(Carter) program?

Brian: Only because I knew he was with Mitch Frankel (agent) and because I am familiar with some of Mitch's clients. Beyond the physical conditioning of it (there are a lot of pros (players) that will come it), that program is not for everybody. There are some guys who kind of filter in, and after seeing what they are asked to do with the conditioning and pace, realize it isn't for them. Jamal will find out first hand from the professionals in the NFL just what it takes to compete in the National Football League. That is the biggest thing that you come out of it with.

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