People still ask me every day of my life what Ray Lewis is like and if I don’t put forth any other theories about No. 52 over the next few days just know this: he is very complex and leads a complicated and very full life with tons of responsibilities and obligations that I wouldn’t care to list or profess to know a whole lot about.
But I’m convinced there’s no time for “down time” being Ray Lewis circa Nov. 2010. And I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t want to trade places in life with him. Because I really don’t think it’s easy being Ray Lewis.
First, I’m not around the team six days a week anymore. Because I’m running this awesome web and new media company that occupies every waking moment of my existence these days and I because I have the great Glenn Clark to chase the team every day as Baltimore’s best Ravens beat reporter, I only encounter Ray Lewis twice a week – on Wednesday during media day and Sunday after the games in the locker room.
Despite my 15 years of ups and downs with him, I’m just another guy with a microphone and a media pass to Ray Lewis. He never really interacts much with me, or any of the other local media guys. He’s generally upbeat and going at hyper speed in some direction. When his time comes to do media, he just stands, smiles, does his six minutes of Q&A and goes back into the gym. After the game he takes his time getting dressed, we wait, we surge forward he does his six minutes and he politely grabs his bags and says, “I’m going to spend time with my kids” and exits in an orderly and hurried fashion.
So the Ray you see via television, gameday, etc. is not much different than the one that I see. The only difference is that he knows my name and I can grab him for 30 seconds if I really care to impart any significant information to him.
Conservatively speaking, in the last 15 years I’ve been the presence of Ray Lewis 750 times – like in the room with him where I could approach him.
Since 2000 I’ve asked Ray Lewis to chat with me for an actual interview three times:
Once in Detroit at the Super Bowl in 2006 and he acted like he’d never met me before…
Next in Tampa at the Super Bowl in 2009 when the topic was the potential of him exiting Baltimore for another NFL sweater and he unexpectedly sat down and chatted with us a for a few minutes:
I requested an interview again over the last month, repeatedly, for this piece and it never happened but he did say he’ll sit down with me “after the bye.” Fair enough.
Strangely enough, out of the blue a P.R. group I’d never heard from before reached out to me