My Ray Lewis memories

January 03, 2013 | Drew Forrester

My Ray Lewis memories

I’ll always remember where I was the day Ray Lewis told Baltimore he had decided to retire.

I was eight feet to his left, in the practice facility at Owings Mills.

And I knew something was up almost right away.

I first noticed Ma’ake Kemoeatu hovering around in the back of the crowded press corps that was on hand to discuss the upcoming Ravens/Colts playoff game with coach John Harbaugh and his players.

Seconds later, Torrey Smith stood next to Kemo.  Less than a minute later, Terrell Suggs joined them.

I’ve seen lots and lots of Ray Lewis press conferences and never before had players gathered to listen in.

“Ray’s retiring”, I said to myself.  ”There’s no other reason why those players would be back there taking this all in.”

My suspicions were right, of course.

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SOMETHING ABOUT RAY YOU DON’T KNOW – UNTIL NOW

I’ve been with WNST Radio for eleven football seasons, going all the way back to the 2002 campaign.

In that time, I’ve seen – literally – hundreds of players (maybe 300?) go through that locker room, both in the old facility in Owings Mills and “The Castle” on 1 Winning Drive.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen Ray Lewis sitting at his locker, but I’d say it’s easily in the hundreds as well.

I’ve only seen him with two books in his hands, ever.

The Bible.

And a Ravens playbook.

I’ve never, not once, seen Ray with a video game.  I’ve never seen him reading a magazine or a newspaper.  There’s no TV set or DVD player in his locker, like a half-dozen or more of the “stars” have in theirs.

Anytime I saw Ray Lewis at the practice facility, he was surrounded by his faith and by football.

Never once did Ray disrupt the media with loud, profane music coming from his locker while his teammates were being interviewed or the media were gathered for a sound bite.

I never saw him accidentally drop his towel and bare his naked body in close proximity to the media who might have been stationed at Ed Dickson’s locker some ten feet away…and then laugh out-loud in a manner more befitting of a fraternity house prank.

The next time I hear Ray Lewis use or shout the “N word” in the locker room will be the first time.

Cornhole?  Not Ray Lewis.  That fifteen minutes could be better spent studying film or the next opponent.

A lot of his teammates were guilty of that behavior I referenced above — and I’ve seen or heard all of that in a decade-plus of covering the team.  But I never heard or saw any of it from No. 52.

When Ray Lewis was on the premises, he was all business.

No shenanigans.  No tom foolerly.  No cutting up.

Business.

There are a lot of things about Ray Lewis that I will eternally respect, and his actions in the locker room are among the most memorable for me.

He was the epitome of the word “professional” when he was at work.

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11 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve Says:

    I like the way you put this together, drew nice job

  2. Jason Says:

    Excellent read Drew.

  3. Unitastoberry Says:

    I saw him his first day of practice at Westminster.You could get really close to them that first year up there. Never followed him in college knew nothing about him but standing behind the sled I could see his speed and intensity. I also think working with Maxie Baughan his first few seasons here helped him understand how to play dominate 3 and out defense. In my life I have seen just about every great player minus 13 years that the NFL screwed us since 1966. If you read my comments over the years you know I have a fondness for the great Mike Curtis and how he should be in the HOF or at least up there at M&T with the other HOF B Colts.But Ray Lewis is better yeah I said it. His performance in the 2000 playoffs especially the home game with Denver was a one man wrecking crew from the MLB position to win a Superbowl the likes of which will not be seen again. Butkus never did that. Good luck Ray and God bless you. Stick around Baltimore and help this town out.

  4. John in Westminster Says:

    Well done.

  5. Robert Canady Says:

    Well done Drew. I enjoyed the piece. Not one word about a game changing interception, sack or fourth down stop. Yet, it really captured the essence of Ray and his impact on the team and city.

  6. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    The fans have been truly blessed having been able to watch Ray excell at his position like no other. A one of a kind player came down the road and luckily he stayed in Baltimore, Ray, thanks for the memories, you are a very special player.

  7. The Armchair QB Says:

    Nice tribute to a deserving icon! Not enough adjectives to describe this once-in-a-lifetime football player. It’s been a privilege and pleasure to watch him perform the past 17 years and, while he will be missed, the memories will last an eternity! Thanks for those memories, Ray, and best wishes for your success after football……….

  8. BmoreBobRob Says:

    I heard some of his financial troubles have been linked to investing a ton in You Pon. That is why he hung on for a few years in order to recover the money he lost. (DF: The only way he could have invested in something worse would have been sinking a bunch of money into your comedy career.)

  9. Art Lawrence Says:

    Ah BmoreBobRob- you never forget….you probably remember when bankruptcy was still an option…..like many of us have forgotten Ray’s steakhouse in canton. how is it we talk about players contributing to our community but when he puts up a stakehouse, we don’t show up in droves to support it? this community failed him but at least he didn’t fail us….#52

  10. dave hittinger Says:

    Great player, possibly the greatest linebacker ever. Off the field he has many serious issues to deal with. I wish him well. (DF: You’re hilarious. What “many serious issues” does he have to deal with? This should be good…)

  11. dave hittinger Says:

    Four baby mamas to start…(DF: That’s it? That’s your angle? Wow. I expected a lot more from you. Swing and a miss.)

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