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Ray Lewis to Ravens mate Haloti Ngata: 'I'll be back'

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was placed on injured reserve this week, with the "designated to return" tag.

Based on his triceps injury, no one expects Lewis to return for this season. His future in the NFL remains uncertain. While he hasn't publicly indicated his plans for possibly returning, it sounds like he's already leaning strongly in one direction.

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"I believe and (Ray) believes that he'll be back," Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata told NFL Network's Melissa Stark in an interview that will air Sunday morning on "First on the Field." "And just knowing him, just talking to him a day ago, just saying, 'I'll be back, don't worry,' and just once he said that, I already knew that I had faith that he'll come back and tell me where to go and push me around."

It's not made explicit by Ngata whether Lewis was talking about next year or this year, but it is believed Lewis is an extreme long shot to return to the field in 2012. NFL Network's Deion Sanders, who played with Lewis in Baltimore, also said Thursday night he can't imagine Lewis retiring after this injury.

It's early in the process, but it sounds like those around Lewis believe we haven't seen the last of him in the NFL.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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