and decided to remain in Baltimore because no one else really courted him.
He’s mysteriously vaporized to Florida at the end of one season after suffering a leg injury and was eventual pretty instrumental in Brian Billick’s ouster as head coach almost three years ago.
He’s had a bevy of advisors from bankers to P.R. firms to promotions partners over the years and has seen a very public restaurant endeavor go south while he was in the prime of his “star” in Baltimore.
He’s kept close court with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti in a unique forum where he has been given good advisers and advice for his future business developments in the area and beyond.
His body of work – good and bad, real and imagined — and his trials and tribulations have all been very, very public and not always presented in a positive light. And as much of a “hero” as he is in most parts of Baltimore there isn’t a weekend in the fall when I’m on the road where I don’t hear someone freely call him a murderer in a stadium somewhere in the NFL.
People ask me all the time about Ray Lewis – “What kind of guy is Ray Lewis?”
And to be honest, it’s not always been positive from my personal experiences but can’t you say that about almost anybody? And I’m not pretty sure that not many people REALLY KNOW Ray Lewis. I knew him far better than most people in 1996-97-98 and that really wasn’t much. But I chatted with him three times a week in those days. And the few times we’ve held court over the last two years have been fun, spirited conversations regarding business and Baltimore.
But his teammates, foes, coaches and comrades have nothing but effusive and honest praise not only for the kind of player he is and was but what kind of teammate he was – selfless and inspiring to every player he’s every touched.
You can line up Edgerton Hartwell, Jamie Sharper and Adalius Thomas – and maybe even Bart Scott – and see that those fine football players and fellow linebackers were “never the same” once they didn’t have No. 52 in their foxhole.
And through all of the lip service and nonsense we get spoon-fed as media members where one player says nice things about other players for the camera and something completely different in private I’ve never heard a Ravens player EVER say a negative thing about Ray Lewis – the football player.