Ray Lewis returns to practice

After missing Thursday's practice and Friday's preseason game against the Chiefs as he dealt with an illness in his family, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was back at team headquarters today.

The Ravens had given Lewis the last few days off to deal spend time with his aunt, who is seriously ill, but the veteran linebacker was back on the practice field this afternoon.

"Family always comes first and is the most important part of our lives," Lewis said, in a statement released by the team. "I want to thank everyone for every prayer and thought they've provided. I'd also like to give a special thanks to the coaches and Ravens organization who have always put family first and allowed me to leave and take care of my family during this very hard time. We will get through this together as a family and with God.

"Thank you again for the thoughts and prayers and for respecting our privacy during this challenging time."

As would be expected, Lewis took his spot with the first-team defense this afternoon, and looked to participate in full.

"It's great to have Ray back," head coach John Harbaugh said. "Just to walk in this morning and see him sitting in his usual seat ... it's Sunday today, so we had a little prayer, and he did it for us. Ray's our leader, so it's great to have him here."

Third-year linebacker Dannell Ellerbe had been getting the reps at Lewis' inside linebacker spot during the veteran's absence.

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