Lewis sees clear similarities between 49ers defense and Baltimore units of old

January 30, 2013 | WNST Staff

LINEBACKER RAY LEWIS

(on his reaction to Sports Illustrated story) “I think, honestly, and I am going to say it very clearly again, I think it’s probably one of the most embarrassing things that we can do on this type of stage. I think it takes totally away from – you give somebody the ability to come into our world. Our world is a very secret society, and we try to protect our world as much as we can. But, when you let cowards come in and do things like that, to try to disturb something. I’ve said it before, I’ve said a million times, the reason why I am smiling is because it is so funny of a story, because I never, ever, took what he says I – whatever I was supposed to do. It’s just sad, once again, that someone can have this much attention on a stage this big where the dreams are really real. They are really real. I don’t need it, my teammates don’t need it, the 49ers don’t need it, nobody needs it, because it just really shows you how people really plan things and try to attack people from the outside. It’s foolish. It’s very foolish, and the guy has no credibility. He’s been sued four or five times over the same B.S. Just to entertain it, I can’t, I won’t and I just truly believe he doesn’t have the privilege for me to speak about it ever again.”

 

(on if he is angry) “Me? Never angry. I’m too blessed to be stressed. No, you’re not angry, you can use a different word. You can use the word agitated, because I am here to win the Super Bowl. I am not here to entertain somebody that does not affect that one way or another. The word agitated would probably be better. Angry? I can never let any – anything from the outside can never affect me to be angry.”

 

(on how he will manage the rest of the week leading up to the Super Bowl) “Listen, it’s hard. We were just sitting in the meetings just now and watching the film. Guys want the game to come so quickly, but I think everything has its’ timing, and that’s what I’m telling the guys. Every second that you think you’ve studied enough film, study more. Do whatever you think you need to do. That’s the thing that we just have to taper back all of your energies, all of your emotions and different things like that, and just really enjoy the ride at the same time. The destination is going to take care of itself. I think it’s more about the ride that we should really start accepting and really enjoying the moments building up to it because the game always takes care of itself.”

 

(on if he understands that it is difficult for the media to take athletes’ statements at face value) “I am always very careful with speaking about something I don’t know about. I don’t know about Lance (Armstrong), I don’t know about anybody. I can only tell you about Ray Lewis, so to speak about other people’s cases, other people’s situations, that is totally on them and that is totally on whatever you guys want to write from there. But, as far as me, I live a certain way, I do things my way. Everything else is everybody else’s business.”

 

(on his first NFL sack, and his retirement from the game) “What do I remember about my first sack? I do remember that I did get up and do a little dance after. I was just excited about getting my first sack in the NFL, so I did get up and do a dance with my shoulders. For my retirement in the game, I haven’t thought about it at all. The only thing on my mind, honestly, is getting my teammates to touch the Lombardi Trophy. The retirement will take care of itself. That is one thing about this game for me. When the clock hits triple zeros, no matter what happens, that will be my last ride. If there was any greater stage to do it on, it would be this stage. So, it is an awesome ride for me.”

 

(on stopping the read-option offense, and if it has long-lasting appeal in the NFL) “You know what? They are doing a good job with it. At the same time, I think when you do watch the film, a lot of people who played against them just never communicated at all. I believe that’s one of the advantages of what we have as a defense. We do a job of communicating real very well, whether you have the dive, whether you have the quarterback. How are you going to play this? How are you going to play that? And if you watch the film, you can tell that a lot of people played against the read-option just played as individuals. It’s really hard to play that type of package as individuals. You have to play it as a group. I said that if you were to try to slow it down, that is the only way to slow it down, is to play it as a group. Make sure before the ball is snapped, everybody is on the same page.”

 

(on what it took for him to play that many seasons in the NFL) “It is a combination of a lot of things. God has been awesome in my life to keep me coming back. I’ve had my share of injuries, and I’ve had my share of bumps and bruises. I think the formula of truly always finding a different way to be better every year. Some people just come back and train for football, period. I am always trying to evolve, to do something different. Every year, my regimen has always changed. That is one thing that I’ve always challenged a lot of athletes, don’t become one minded and say, ‘I’m just a football player.’ There are so many things, so many fine-tuned muscles and things that we have to work out. That’s why I think so many exercises, whether it’s karate, whether it’s cycling, whether it’s wrestling, whether it’s swimming, whatever it is, every year I am always going to try to strengthen myself in some other areas. That is one of the biggest keys that I always saw as my success. I never got to a point that I stayed the same. Every year, I was always getting different, climbing, climbing and climbing. That is one of the keys to longevity.”

 

(on if he sees similarities between the 49ers defense and the Ravens defense) “Oh yeah, absolutely. You see the youth, how we were like when we were younger. And they are running around, and they are making a lot of plays. They have a lot of young guys who love playing the game, and you can tell that they really enjoy playing, not just the game, but playing with each other. That is one of the biggest keys to playing great defense, is having that defensive chemistry that everybody understands where they are supposed to be, and how they are supposed to be. When the ball is snapped, one thing you notice the most is that everybody is going to where the football is. That is a great similarity of that kind of Ravens defense.”

 

(on why this is the season that the Ravens broke through to the Super Bowl) “That’s funny, because every year, you feel that same way. Whatever the bounce of the ball doesn’t go your way, it doesn’t go your way. And, if it’s not your year at the end, it’s not your year. We’ve been close. We’ve been close many, many years. But, I’ve always said that one play, one catch, or one missed field goal – whatever it is – has never defined a season. I just believe that whatever time that expires during the course of that year, it expires. Now, you saw a lot of bounces of the ball went our way. A lot of things in the last couple of games, they just went our way. Positive energy comes into play with that. By the end of day, I just think that if it is your time, it’s your time. For us to be here today, it’s bottom line, our time.”

 

(on why it was important for him to announce his retirement before the end of the season) “I’ve watched many people on how they retire, and when they retire. I had not just an obligation to myself, but I had an obligation to my teammates and I had an obligation to my city – that I did not want to end the season and then say, ‘I’m gone.’ I’ve invested too much time into Baltimore, into my teammates and into the organization to ever just walk out like that. I believe that you should give everybody a fair chance to say their goodbyes. Playing that last game in Baltimore, announcing it the way I did, and knowing that it would be my last ride. Knowing that it would be my last time in M&T (Bank Stadium), it was one of the most amazing feelings ever. Just being able to appreciate that moment and not get to the end of the season – whenever the road stops – and say, ‘Oh, I’m done. I’m never coming back again.’ I would have robbed a lot of people of those last goodbyes for me and them. That is why I did it that way.”

 

(on if he would be disappointed if former Ravens owner Art Modell was not voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year) “That is always one of those situations that you really try to stay out of, because you don’t know how they vote. You can only tell them about the man who I knew myself – a true legend in his own way, a real visionary who changed thousands and thousands of lives. For the impact he’s had on this business and what he’s done for so many in this business, for me – I am a little biased – I would say, ‘Why wouldn’t he be in the Hall of Fame?’ Like I said, however they vote, they vote, but he is already in my hall of fame. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.”

(on if Sports Illustrated story is a distraction for his teammates) “It’s not. It’s a joke, if you know me. I tell them all the time, and this is what I try to teach them, is don’t let people from the outside ever come and disturb what’s inside. That is the trick of the devil. The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy. That is what he comes to do. He comes to distract you from everything you are trying to do. There is no man who ever trained as hard as our team has trained, and there is no man who went through what we went through. So, to give somebody credit that doesn’t deserve credit, that would be a slap in the face for everything we went through. So, these are lessons that I teach my teammates, that outside don’t matter. I don’t care what nobody says about us, or what they want to report. I’ve been in this game 17 years, 17-plus good years, and I have a heck of a relationship and too much respect for the business, and my body, to ever violate like that. So, to entertain foolishness like that from cowards who come from the outside and try to destroy what we’ve built, like I just said, it’s sad to even entertain it on this type of stage, because this type of stage is what dreams are made of. This is what kids dream their whole lives, to be up here on these days, stepping in the NFL and saying that I am on the biggest stage ever. You are supposed to be smiling the whole week. Listen, I promise you, we all in here have a past, but how many people dwell into it. No, it ain’t about your past, it’s about your future. For me and my teammates, I promise you, we have a strong group of men that don’t bend too much. We keep pushing forward. So, it is not a distraction at all for us.”

 

(on how grateful he is today) “My childhood defined a lot of who I am today. My mom did a heck of a job raising a man to put my complete faith in God from day one. From nine years old, when I was ordained as a junior deacon, she always said that some days, you may find yourself away from God, but you will find yourself back. Along the path, every day of my life, I’ve always had a conversation with Him. To always know that what my prayers are, what my visions are, and everything He has given me, is just an opportunity to share with people that life is bigger than making money and just having fancy cars. I truly believe that impact and success are two totally different things. Anybody can be successful. You can go build buildings. You can have a nice whatever you want to have. But, impact is totally different, and when you talk about the walk of Jesus, his whole walk was impact. That is what my life is based off of. My life is based off impact, grabbing somebody and letting them know that life is to be lived together to figure out the wrongs and rights and teach somebody else those morals and ethics so they don’t go back down those same roads. As far as it being my last ride, you draw up a lot of storybook endings, but for me, how else would I rather go out than be on the biggest stage ever, giving everything I’ve got for my teammates to touch that Lombardi Trophy? It’s the ultimate. So when you talk about a last ride, I have devoted myself. One of my linebacker buddies asked, ‘Have you been out any this week?’ I was like, ‘No, I’m not going anywhere, because I only want my face stuck in an iPad. I want to know everything about the San Francisco 49ers, that when I step on the field, I can make my defense a better defense. When we walk off that field, we know that we did everything in my power, and I know that I spent every second focused on winning this game. For me, that is a heck of a way to go out.”

 

(on if this week has been tough on him with the thought of impending retirement) “No. As a leader, I’ve been able to sit back and I’ve been able to watch my teammates. Every teammate on this team right now, it is a new process for them. Every step is a new step. For me, it’s not. So, my quietness is always been as a leader to sit back and make sure everything stays in the proper order. Like if the plane ride is too crazy and too loud, I just go say something real quick, or if the meetings are not going the way they should, I’ll go say something. So, that has kind of been my thought process. My thought process has been my job as a leader is to get my guys to the dance, get them to understand what we have to do to get to the dance – how we need to practice and how we need to prepare. When you walk into the locker room, we don’t need nothing else – we don’t need cellphones, we don’t need nothing. All you need is your teammates and communication. I’ve been quiet for a lot of those different reasons, because I’ve been sitting back knowing that I have to fix this, fix that and carry my teammates through the right way on how we should approach this thing.”

 

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