Zbikowski putting boxing on the back burner

After spending the last few months living his boxing dream, Tom Zbikowski has decided to refocus on football.

Zbikowski told the Los Angeles Times that he has pulled out of his scheduled June 4 fight against cruiserweight Mike Howell in Los Angeles, and will get back to training for the upcoming NFL season.

“It’s time to start the transition back to football,” Zbikowski told the Times in text messages. “My teammates are starting to organize some workouts, so it’s just time to head back (to Baltimore). Wish I had more time to do both.”

The Ravens safety has amassed a 3-0 record since getting back into the boxing world in mid-March. He has said in the past that boxing is his true passion, but he knows that football will support him financially, and also has his eyes set on earning a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens.

Depending on which rules the NFL chooses to apply to the 2011 season, Zbikowski could battle for the Ravens’ starting strong safety job in training camp.

If the league keeps the 2010 rules, players would need six years of service to become an unrestricted free agent, and Dawan Landry - who has five years of NFL service - would still be under the Ravens’ control as a restricted free agent.

But if the NFL adopts the pre-2010 rules, players would only need four years to become unrestricted, and Landry would be free to sign with any team. In that case, Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura would be the in-house favorites to compete for the strong safety job.

Nakamura was at the Ravens’ players-only workout today. Zbikowski was not, but it sounds like he plans on being involved in any such football-related work in the future.

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