A lesson in ‘what was said’

August 12, 2008 | Drew Forrester

So, Ray Lewis is having daily meetings with John Harbaugh about the team’s starting quarterback derby.

Right?  After all, there was a story in a Boston newspaper that said Lewis is telling Harbaugh that Troy Smith should be the Ravens’ starting QB on Sept. 7.



This is how Ray Lewis gets in trouble with the fans. 

On Sunday, Boston Globe writer Mike Reiss ran this piece in his weekly column: “One of the undercurrents felt from the Ravens’ visit to Gillette Stadium was the support in the team’s locker room for Troy Smth to be the team’s starting quarterback on opening day.  Linebacker Ray Lewis, in particular, is privately lobbying for Smith – the former Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State…”

That’s it.

OK, fans, here’s a little reading lesson for you, especially those of you angry with Ray for “running his mouth”.

Where in that paragraph by Reiss does it say Lewis MET with John Harbaugh about Troy Smith?  I don’t see it.  Do you?

Yet, the e-mails and calls are coming in from fans who want Ray to “stay out of personnel decisions” and “leave Harbaugh alone”.

Here’s what MIGHT have happened after the game.  Reiss is in the Ravens locker room, waiting to speak with Lewis when he notices Ray and Troy Smith are having a private conversation near 52’s locker.  When they split up, Reiss settles in and Ray says, “That kid’s gonna be good someday.  I keep telling the guys here to stick with him and he’ll figure out how to play the game soon.  I’m telling you, he’s got something.”

That COULD have been the “private lobbying” that Reiss was referring to in his column.

I don’t subscribe to the theory that players should have an open invitation to campaign for other players with the coaching staff.  I think the “Anthony Wright should play” campaign from a few years back should still be lodged firmly in our brains, don’t you?

But, it IS entirely possible that Harbaugh and/or Cam Cameron would gather a select group of guys, Lewis included, and say to them, “How’s it FEEL around here to you this summer?  Different? What’s the locker room vibe regarding the quarterbacks?  How does the sports drink taste?  Are we mixing it right?

Ray – as the team’s REAL franchise player (the faux franchise player is sunning himself in Arizona) – should be a player the coaching staff relies on when they have a question that requires determining the pulse of the locker room.  Ray shouldn’t be the ONLY voice, of course, but his squawk is fairly loud around there.

People will say – and are, actually – that Ray should just shut up and play football.  People will say “let the coaches pick the quarterback”.  People will say “Ray has too much power.”

All of those statements are true to a degree, but Ray’s not entirely at fault either.

In this case, folks in Baltimore are making a big deal out of paragraph that is about as benign as it can possibly be. There’s no direct quote from Ray saying, “I told Johnny boy that my dawg Smitty should be the quarterback.”  There’s nothing to be attributed to Ray other than a very vague “privately lobbying” reference. 

Smells like a non-story to me.

I’m privately lobbying for a hot tub, a putting green and an on-site massage therapist here at WNST, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to Nestor on behalf of the crew to see if it can happen.