Lewis credits 49ers’ ability to disguise what they’re doing offensively

January 31, 2013 | WNST Staff

LINEBACKER RAY LEWIS

(on being finally able to focus on football on the practice field) “I think we all are (focused). I think both teams are. Some of the texts, and some of the calls I get, you are just ready to get to the game. The bottom line is, both teams are ready for the game. It’s a part of our job that we have to be here and deal with the media, but it is part of it, and all good things.”

 

(on 49ers LB Patrick Willis) “He is a great young talent. He plays the game on a very high level. He has his swagger that he runs with, and I kind of have mine. We are two totally different people. We definitely wear the same number, but we are two totally different people. Me and Pat have been friends for a very long time now, since he came into the league. Knowing his story and why he wears No. 52, that is the ultimate that somebody wants to come behind you and do their thing. He is his own man, and that is what I love about him. He is so humble of a man. He plays the game at a very, very high level, and he plays the game the right way. I really enjoy the friendship we have with each other.”

 

(on how excited he is to play in the Super Bowl) “First of all, I am excited to be in this game. You know our motto, it’s never about one man, so we don’t focus on one man, and I think the excitement is that we have a very talented team that will face the San Francisco 49ers coming up.”

 

(on his relationship with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis) “Coming in with Marvin, being so young, and as soon as I got there, they made a huge move the first day when I walked in, and that was Marvin came to me to have a conversation. He said, ‘Listen, this is your team now.’ He said, ‘I want to do something with you.’ The relationship we had was more father-son, because we would find a different way to meet with each other. I would come up to his office every day, sit there and pick his brain on how defensive coordinators thought, the things about being a man all of these different things. He is one of the biggest reasons why my career is definitely where it is today.”

 

(on his emotions going into his final game) “Personally, I am playing with two aces. There is no lose for me, because I’ve been in this game before, I’ve won a Super Bowl, I’ve won a MVP and I’ve done all those things. Now, being back here, knowing that this is my last time ever, the greatest reward to myself, honestly, is to give everything I got. The greatest reward to my teammates is to give everything I got. At the end of the day when the clock hits triple zeros, I ride off into the sunset, and I ride off into an awesome life to be a father to my kids and a staple to my community.”

 

(on how he will handle not being the center of attention after his retirement from football) “Easy. Very easy – seriously. I live a normal life outside of the game. My life is so normal, and it is hard at times because people want you to live off the field like you do on the field. But, I try to separate that. When I am a father, I’m a father; when I am a son, I’m a son; when I am a person just shopping, I am a person just shopping. I like to do the normal things everyone else likes to do. Getting away from all of the stardom, and all that, will it ever fade? It may, it might not, but it will never change the way I live my life. That is as basic as it gets.”

 

(on not being humble on the field) “That is a totally different person you are talking about. You are talking about on the field, an ultimate warrior – that is what I do. On the field isn’t about humility, I don’t get paid to be humble on the field. I get paid to hit people in the mouth. That takes on its own attitude by itself. Off the field is what people don’t see, and that’s with all athletes. They make you these gladiators because they only see you on game days. Off the field, you will find the most genuine people ever in life. I promise you, in my heart, I definitely am one of them – just simply because of the way I treat people and the way my mom raised me.”

 

(on former Ravens inside linebacker coach Mike Singletary) “A lot of things were away from football with Coach Singletary, about being a man and share with each other. Every Monday, he would come in and we would bring out the Bible, and he would take me over certain scriptures in the Bible. We would go through it. The funny thing about it was that when he first got there, he actually thought he would have a hard problem coaching me. And it was the opposite. I was like, ‘Teach me everything you know. I don’t know anything. I need you to teach me everything you know.’ And, I am still like that to this day. When I walk into any meeting, I am the first one of my men there, and I want to know everything the coaches are saying and teaching. Coach Singletary was one of those coaches in my life like Marvin Lewis, Jack Del Rio and Rex Ryan, all of these guys who really had a great impact on my life.”

 

(on if he has thought about being a coach in the future) “Let just say – who knows? I do know that being a coach is a lot of time. I have given a lot of time to the game already, and so now, me saying that this is my last ride, is freeing me from that time obligation. So, going back into coaching would be giving that time up again. Whether it comes years, years, years down the road, it may, but I will never leave the game in my heart. But, I don’t know personally about coaching.”

 

(on the challenge of the 49ers offense) “I think they do a great job disguising a lot of things when you see the packages they try to run. We always have a philosophy on defense that no matter what anybody does, whatever they try to show you, at the end of the day, there is one football and only one person can touch it at a time. As long as that part never changes about the game, then defenses can successful, no matter how many packages or how many schemes they come up with. Once you see wherever the ball goes, we have a defense that believes in one thing. We believe in each other. We believe in finding the football. That’s the key to stopping those multiple formations.”

 

(on how the team has changed this week) “I saw a total change, not just in our players, but our entire staff. We are all dialed in. It became so infectious in our locker room, and it was like, ‘What else can we do?’ The players – we kind of took it over for ourselves years ago. We took it over ourselves, where we kind of took the coaches out of the meetings, saying, ‘Coach, we got this. We are going to go through everything you’ve taught us already, but when we leave here, we are going to have a meeting with just ourselves.’ The attention to detail picked up so quickly. I think those meetings are one of the reasons why, collectively as a group – offense, defense and special teams – why we are playing at a high level.”

 

(on Ravens safety Ed Reed) “Ed and I were sitting out there on the practice fields yesterday, and we reminisced about so many memories that we had over the years, about the hard work we put in from day one when he came in. But the memories of those failures, of having those great defenses and being so close and not being able to close that chapter. How appropriate in Super Bowl XLVII, to bring him back home. When I won my Super Bowl in Tampa, I was 20 or 30 minutes away from my hometown. Now, it’s déjà vu all over again, I told him yesterday, for him. I told him, ‘Now bro, you right back at the crib. Now you get a real opportunity to win it at home. And then, you don’t have to leave, that’s the beautiful part. If you win, it, you celebrate it, and your family is here.’ His mom is here, everybody is here. I am so proud of him as a brother. I just love that guy, because of the things we’ve been through – the maturity I’ve seen all the way from college up to now.”

 

(on if he thinks Super Bowl XLVII will be physical) “I don’t think it will be nothing less than physical. Both teams play a very physical football game. They like to run the ball, we like to run the ball. They have a physical defense, we have a physical defense. They have a physical offensive line, we have a physical offensive line. These teams match up very well, and you have to give credit to both teams that they prepared themselves very well. They’ve played at a high level pretty much the entire season. I think it will be a very, very physical game.”

 

(on what he will be most proud of after football) “When I walk off that field Sunday, I will probably be most proud of the impact I’ve had on so many men’s lives. The game will fade one day, numbers will fall, accolades will wash away, but there is nothing better than changing someone’s life. To be in Baltimore for 17 years, and getting the opportunity to walk off the biggest stage ever, and to one day look back – and still today, I listen to men walk by men and say, “Thank you for helping me. Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for showing me the right way.’ I think that is the ultimate reward.”

 

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