I was sitting in a Canton restaurant six weeks ago doing a WNST.net sales presentation and out of the corner of my eye I caught a purple flash. There, larger than life was the familiar sight of Ray Lewis coming down on Darren Sproles on the San Diego turf last fall on all of the flat screens at once in a jarring HD highlight reel, then pounding more running backs, belting quarterbacks and creating that beautiful purple havoc that we’ve grown to love to watch on Sunday afternoons in Baltimore.
The volume was down but it didn’t take me long to realize that Steve Sabol and a series of former Ravens coaches were doing a roundtable conversation about the career of Ray Lewis and I realized this was the NFL Films special that was shot in Orlando back during the NFL Owners Meetings that I attended. It was the same day when I spent time with all of these same people – Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith, Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Mike Singletary – for a coffee table conversation book I’m working on about the lineage of Baltimore coaching and leadership.
In case you missed any of the segments on NFL.com from the Orlando conversation here’s a link…
But this wasn’t any restaurant I sitting in last month – this was Ray Lewis’ former Full Moon BBQ dream that is now The Fieldhouse next to the Canton Can Company.
On the same walls that served as a civic homage to all things No. 52, a place where Ray’s dream of being a successful restaurant owner and entrepreneur failed, it was sadly bittersweet to see Lewis flying on the walls