When people think of the Baltimore Ravens as a franchise, they immediately think toughness and physicality on the defensive side of the ball. That viewpoint is due to the contributions of a No. 52 that plays inside linebacker for the Ravens.
Ray Lewis is and always will be the Baltimore Ravens.
Yes, Jonathan Ogden was the first ever draft pick by the organization. However, Lewis is the most memorable player in franchise history for several reasons.
Coming out of the University of Miami (FL) in 1996, Lewis was undermined as a player going into the NFL Draft. He was undersized and under-appreciated even though he had quite a college career.
From the day he arrived at the Baltimore Ravens’ facilities, he was always looking and working to be great.
Kevin Byrne is the senior VP of public and community relations for the Ravens. Byrne joined Drew Forrester on The Morning Reaction Thursday to put the career of Lewis in perspective. He said from the very beginning of his career, Lewis always had great expectations and ambitions as a player.
Listen to the entire interview here.
“I asked him if he had any goals and he said he wanted to be the best player ever,” Byrne said. “That was the first time I met him.”
Byrne also said that Lewis had told him in private earlier this season that this would be his final season. One might question the timing of this announcement as this being a selfish move on Lewis’ part to draw attention to himself and away from Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and his battle with cancer.
I say bologna.
This is the BEST time for this announcement for several reasons.
Ray Lewis is and always will be the Baltimore Ravens as a franchise. It was hard seeing him struggle at times getting off of blocks, failing to drop back quickly enough in pass coverage and ultimately to see him tear his right triceps muscle and lose a large chunk of the season. However, even though his physical abilities have taken a significant blow at this stage of his career, no one can deny his knowledge of the game of football and the amount of preparation he puts into each game each week. His ability to communicate has made him the player he is today and why he is regarded as one of the greatest of all-time.
Sam Adams joined Glenn Clark Wednesday on The Reality Check to put the career of Ray Lewis in perspective. He admired he physicality on the field and also the amount of time and effort he put into preparing for each opponent on the schedule.
“You need to stop trying to be like Ray Lewis,” Adams said. “That’s a benchmark you simply can’t do. But if you can take away something from him, it’ll make you better at what you’re doing because it’s too much. Those are shoes that cannot be filled. I think he would tell you don’t try to ‘Be as I am. You need to look at the things that I’ve done and make your life better. Maybe I’ve inspired you to do something better in your life.’ As far as playing the game like him, you can’t do it. But if you want to know how to play the game, you better analyze him. He played that position as it was defined. A pure headhunter. They don’t have a lot of those anymore. When they make rules to save people from you knocking them out, you know you’ve made an impact when they have to change the way things are done because of how you play the game.”
The Ravens are facing a capable quarterback in Andrew Luck this week, who happens to also lead the NFL in total turnovers (28). Luck is a student of the game and has a very high football IQ.
So does Ray Lewis.
What he can no longer offer physically as a force to be reckoned with on defense, his mind and ability to call out signals can only benefit the Ravens as he is the chief of the tribe that used to be regarded as “organized chaos.”
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