By now, you know Ray Lewis stayed with HIS team for 2009 and beyond. Ironically, on the same day, it was announced Kurt Warner was doing the same thing.
WHOA ….. STOP RIGHT THERE …..
Aside from being football players and filthy rich ones ….. the similarity between these two Hall Of Famers are really few and far between. I’ll just say this – Ray Lewis could learn a lot from Kurt Warner.
Lets face it, both players took distinctly different paths toward NFL stardom. Lewis was a standout at Miami and a first round selection by the Ravens. Conversely, Kurt Warner wasn’t even drafted, after a stellar senior season at Northern Iowa.
Ray Lewis hit the ground running, even as an NFL rookie. Kurt Warner scratched and clawed for everything, through the Arena Football League, NFL Europe and as a backup with the St. Louis Rams.
Both players came from humble beginnings to become NFL superstars. One of them has continued a humble existence and the other ….. well, I’m pretty sure he’s never touched a buck he didn’t like. Here’s where it really gets bad for #52 …..
Over the past few weeks, both players have been in similar circumstances. And, both players have had tough negotiations to navigate. Yet, each man conducted his respective strategy and gameplan in totally different ways. One guy emerges looking humble and the other looks selfish. Yep, some things never change.
Kurt Warner and the infamously frugile Arizona Cardinals have been playing a game of high stakes “dare” since the Steelers raised the Lombardi trophy, over a month ago. But, whenever confronted by a microphone, Warner has touted his love for the Cardinals and an everlasting hope a deal could be struck. He’s never broke from the “company line.”
On the other hand, Ray Lewis has been issuing ultimatums ….. in Tampa ….. in Honolulu ….. in Baltimore, and beyond. We all know the quotes …..
“If you don’t play less, you don’t take less.”
“I see Dallas as a great opportunity. It’s always been America’s Team. It’s just a great place to play football.”
“Wow, if something does happen where you’re not back in Baltimore, the Jets wouldn’t be bad.”
You can say this was just Ray posturing or to steal a line outta L.A., it’s just “Ray being Ray.” But, only a few guys play this silly shell game. No offense to Ray, but the guys who play it aren’t the best citizens, if you catch my drift.
A poignant comparison for Kurt Warner and Ray Lewis is how differently each guy has corralled the media over the last week. In every public appearance, including a very vivid on-set interview on ESPN, from Disney World, Warner continued to levy his love for the Cardinals organization, while renewing hope a deal would be struck.
On the other hand, Ray Lewis has manipulated the media through his minions, like Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson. They’ve dropped innuendos and ultimatums, none of which worked. In the end, Ray looked just as silly as these jedi-mind trick games he’s been playing.
Do you think the way these guys handled themselves and their respective negotiations had an effect on potential suitors? You bet. Kurt Warner spent Monday with the 49ers and they tried hard to land him. Ray ??? He’s been as elusive as Waldo over the last few days. But, you can bet he wasn’t visiting any NFL facilities.
I’ll admit ignorance ….. I have no inside track or information. We all know that. But, I can read the tea leaves and the smoke signals waffling high up in the sky. I’d wager my house – heck, I’ll wager all 3 of my houses that David Dunn never received a meaningful phone call from another NFL team.
Ray has been doing everything wrong for the past week. Kurt Warner has been doing everything right for the past week. Both worlds culminated within the past couple days. The Lewis drama ended with a lackluster acknowledgement that Ray has accepted the Ravens offer. The Warner speculation all but ended when the ‘slinger made a public plea through his agent to offer the Cardinals a “hometown discount.” That got it done.
Perhaps, Ray Lewis and Kurt Warner have been very different people with distinctly different paths all along. It’s just the way it is. I’ve already said it, but I’ll offer the same observation one more time …..
Ray Lewis could learn a lot from Kurt Warner