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Lewis to serve two months in halfway house

Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, serving a four-month federal prison term after pleading guilty to using a cell phone to try to set up a cocaine deal in 2000, will be released from jail on June 2, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio has learned.

Lewis, the 2003 NFL offensive player of the year, will be discharged from Federal Prison Camp at Saufley Field in Pensacola, Fla., two days ahead of his scheduled release date of June 4, prison spokesman David Fagan said Thursday.

Under the guidelines of his sentence handed down by a federal judge in Atlanta, Lewis must return to Atlanta for a two-month stint in a halfway house, according to his lawyer, Jerome Froelich. That means Lewis cannot be involved in the Ravens mini-camps currently going on through June 12 and will not be able to report to training camp when veterans are due on July 31 at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md.

There was considerable speculation that Lewis would apply to have his halfway house stint moved to Owings Mills, Md., so that he could rejoin the Ravens. But federal prosecutors in Atlanta frowned on that idea, according to a source with knowledge of Lewis' case. So, Lewis will have to remain in Atlanta until Aug. 2.

In 2000, shortly after the Ravens took him in the first round of the NFL draft out of the University of Tennessee, Lewis was accused of helping put together a cocaine deal with a woman who turned out to be a federal informant. He took a plea deal in order to avoid the possibility of going to federal prison for ten years.

"He's in great shape," said Froelich, who has visited Lewis in prison. "The prison officials there have been amazed at his attitude. He's volunteered to sign autographs for prison guards' kids, volunteered to do painting. He works in the prison tool shop in the morning. One guy told me, 'I wish every prisoner were like him.'"