Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has taken the next step toward football immortality.
The 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was named one of 27 semifinalists for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class on Tuesday. He is one of six in their first year of eligibility, joining defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebacker Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Considered one of the best middle linebackers in NFL history, Lewis is expected by most to be a first-ballot selection and would become the second lifelong Raven to be inducted after left tackle Jonathan Ogden was enshrined in 2013. The 15 modern-era finalists will be announced in January with no more than five of those tabbed for induction in Minneapolis on Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl LII.
The enshrinement ceremony will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio next August.
Lewis retired after the 2012 season with his brilliant 17-year career concluding with a win in Super Bowl XLVII. In his fifth season, he was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXV after leading one of the best defenses in NFL history to a championship.
The 1996 first-round pick out of the University of Miami is the Ravens’ all-time leader in tackles and ranks second in interceptions behind only Ed Reed and second in forced fumbles behind Terrell Suggs. Reed will be eligible for Hall of Fame induction after the 2018 season.