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Sports

January 15, 2013

Ravens embrace underdog role in AFC title game

(Continued)

The 37-year-old Lewis, who has been with the Ravens since their first game in 1996, plans to retire of Baltimore’s current playoff run. If the Ravens go all the way, he will no doubt recall they were underdogs this season from September through the first weekend in February.

It always seems to be that way for Baltimore, at least in Lewis’ mind.

“My Super Bowl year in 2000, we were never picked one time the entire season to win a game. Not one time,” Lewis recalled. “But at the end of the day, we held the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champs. That alone taught me a valuable lesson — that no one outside dictates how we play on the inside.”

OK, so the Ravens weren’t underdogs in every game and were 3-point favorites over New York in the Super Bowl. But, with the aid of some revisionist history, Lewis made a valid point.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith echoed that sentiment Monday after someone asked him if he reads media reports before the game.

“They are irrelevant,” he said. “None of you all thought we were going to be right here this week anyway.”

For one year now, the Ravens have been striving to be in this position — back in the AFC title game. Ever since Lee Evans had the potential game-winning catch poked from his grasp and Billy Cundiff followed by hooking a 32-yard field goal attempt, Baltimore has been eager for another chance to play for a shot at a Super Bowl berth.

“The feeling we had in the locker room, I think we all wanted to get back to the AFC championship,” Ngata said. “Hopefully we can get it done this time.”

Underdogs or not, the Ravens are playing the Patriots for the conference crown. Again.

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