Ray Lewis: Difference between revisions

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The fifth linebacker selected in the 1996 NFL Draft, Lewis earned ''[[USA Today]]'s'' All-Rookie team honors after leading the Ravens in tackles (142) in the 1996 season. His 15 tackles for loss led the [[NFL]]. Lewis recorded an NFL best 210 tackles in 1997, earning his first [[Pro Bowl]] berth at the end of that season.
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Besides being a professional football player, Ray Lewis enjoys murdering people in his spare time. He has a very short temper, and no one likes him. The fifth linebacker selected in the 1996 NFL Draft, Lewis earned ''[[USA Today]]'s'' All-Rookie team honors after leading the Ravens in tackles (142) in the 1996 season. His 15 tackles for loss led the [[NFL]]. Lewis recorded an NFL best 210 tackles in 1997, earning his first [[Pro Bowl]] berth at the end of that season.
   
 
In 1998, Lewis made his second trip to the Pro Bowl after recording 154 tackles, leading the Ravens in tackles for the third consecutive season. He was also named to ''The Sporting News'' All-Pro Team. In what would prove to be Hall of Fame running back [[Barry Sanders]]' final game, Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense held him to just 41 rushing yards.<ref>http://www.databasefootball.com/boxscores/gamedata.htm?dy=27&mth=12&yr=1998&tm=BAL&lg=NFL</ref>
 
In 1998, Lewis made his second trip to the Pro Bowl after recording 154 tackles, leading the Ravens in tackles for the third consecutive season. He was also named to ''The Sporting News'' All-Pro Team. In what would prove to be Hall of Fame running back [[Barry Sanders]]' final game, Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense held him to just 41 rushing yards.<ref>http://www.databasefootball.com/boxscores/gamedata.htm?dy=27&mth=12&yr=1998&tm=BAL&lg=NFL</ref>

Revision as of 18:10, 8 January 2009

Ray Lewis
refer to caption
Lewis during a 2007 charity event
Baltimore Ravens
Career information
College: University of Miami
NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2008
Tackles: 1,625
Sacks: 33.5
Interceptions: 28
Player stats at NFL.com

Ray Anthony Lewis (born May 15, 1975 in Template:City-state) is an American football linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). Lewis has been selected to ten Pro Bowls and been named an All-Pro seven times.[1] He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003; he was the sixth player to win the award multiple times.[2] He was also the first linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award since 1971 and the first linebacker to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team.

College career

As a freshman at the University of Miami, Lewis was an immediate contributor and became a starter for the Hurricanes' final five games. He compiled 81 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and four pass deflections in route to being named to the freshman All-American team.

In his sophomore season, Lewis earned 1st team All-American and All-Big East Conference honors. Lewis led the Big East with 152 tackles and also contributed nine tackles for a loss, two sacks, and an interception for a Hurricanes team that would finish #6 in both the writers' and coaches' polls.[3]

Lewis' junior campaign was another successful one as he was once again named to the All-American[4] and All-Big East teams. He was also the runner up for the Butkus Award.[5] Lewis finished his junior season with 160 tackles, the 2nd highest in University of Miami team history behind only Ed Weisacosky's 164 in 1965. Lewis also totaled eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, four pass deflections and one touchdown. Against West Virginia University, Lewis contributed fifteen tackles.

Ray led the Big East in tackles his final two seasons and accumulated the 5th most in Miami history despite playing only three seasons.

After the 1995 season, Lewis decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft. In the 1996 NFL Draft, he was selected in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens with the 26th overall pick. Lewis would eventually earn his undergraduate degree in Arts and Science in 2004 at the University of Maryland University College.[6]

Professional career

Lewis on the sidelines during a 2008 regular season game

At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Lewis has career totals of 1,520 tackles, 1367 solo tackles[7], 11 forced fumbles, 90 passes defended, 83 tackles for loss, 30 sacks, 13 fumble recoveries, 25 interceptions, and two touchdowns in 162 games[7][8]. Lewis has been selected to ten NFL Pro Bowl games in his thirteen seasons and led the NFL in tackles five times (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004). In 2003, Lewis led all linebackers with six interceptions, a total matching the all-time record for a middle linebacker in a single season. Lewis was named 1st team AP All-Pro in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004 and 2nd team All-Pro in 1997 and 1998.

Season-by-season

Besides being a professional football player, Ray Lewis enjoys murdering people in his spare time. He has a very short temper, and no one likes him. The fifth linebacker selected in the 1996 NFL Draft, Lewis earned USA Today's All-Rookie team honors after leading the Ravens in tackles (142) in the 1996 season. His 15 tackles for loss led the NFL. Lewis recorded an NFL best 210 tackles in 1997, earning his first Pro Bowl berth at the end of that season.

In 1998, Lewis made his second trip to the Pro Bowl after recording 154 tackles, leading the Ravens in tackles for the third consecutive season. He was also named to The Sporting News All-Pro Team. In what would prove to be Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders' final game, Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense held him to just 41 rushing yards.[9]

In 1999, Lewis led the NFL in tackles with 198. He was named to a third straight Pro Bowl and was named to the All-Pro 1st team.

In 2000, Lewis led a defense which set a 16-game single season record for fewest points allowed (165) and fewest rushing yards allowed (970). The team recorded four shutouts, one shy of the single season record. The unit finished 1st league-wide in six key defensive categories. Lewis won Super Bowl XXXV MVP honors, Defensive Player of the Year honors, earned a unanimous All-Pro selection, and was once again named to start in the Pro Bowl. Lewis' regular season total of 187* tackles once again led the Ravens, and Lewis added 44 tackles, two interceptions, nine pass deflections, one fumble recovery and a touchdown in the four game playoff run.

In 2001, Lewis earned his 5th consecutive Pro Bowl selection when he led the NFL in tackles (161*) and earned 1st-team All-Pro honors. Lewis scored a touchdown in the 2002 Pro Bowl.

In 2002, Lewis was limited to five games due to a shoulder injury. He still managed to rank 5th on the team with 85 tackles. In addition, Lewis earned two interceptions, two pass deflections, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Lewis earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 4 vs. the Denver Broncos after posting 18 tackles (11 solo), two pass deflections and an interception on "Monday Night Football".[10] After having been selected to the Pro Bowl for five consecutive seasons (1997-2001), Lewis's streak was stopped by his season ending injury.

File:DSC00718.JPG
Lewis roaming the sidelines in 2005

Lewis was the leading vote recipient for the 2003 AP All-Pro team, earning 49 of 50 votes. He also won the annual AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year with 43 votes out of 50. Additionally, Lewis earned Pro Football Weekly, PFWA and Football Digest Defensive MVP honors and was named to Dr. Z's Sports Illustrated All-Pro team, Pro Football Weekly's All-NFL team, Pro Football Weekly's All-AFC team, Football Digest's All-Pro 1st-team, and The Sporting News' All-Pro team. Leis also earned the KC 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year award for the 3rd time and finished with 161 tackles. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Month for November[11] and AFC Defensive Player of the week for his fifteen-tackle, one-interception performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17.[12]

In 2004, Lewis was named 1st-team All Pro by the AP, 2nd-team "All Pro" by College and Pro Football Weekly and Football Digest, and "All Pro" by The Sporting News. He finished the season with 146 total tackles.

Lewis' 2005 season was cut short by a week 6 injury. He was placed on injury reserve in week 8, having amassed 46 tackles, a sack, an interception, and a fumble recovery in the season's first 6 games.

In 2006, Lewis led the Ravens defense to an NFL best ranking in 14 major defensive categories, including total yards allowed, points per game allowed, and interceptions. The Ravens also finished second in sacks, take-aways, and rushing yards allowed. Lewis missed two games due to injury but still recorded 103 tackles, a personal best five sacks, two interceptions, and eight pass deflections in 14 Games. He also forced a fumble and recovered one. The Ravens allowed just one 100-yard rushing performance in the 14 games Lewis played. Lewis was named AFC Defensive Player of the week following his 7 tackle, one sack, and three pass deflection performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.[13] He was also selected to the Pro Bowl but withdrew because of a hand injury, ceding his spot to fellow Ravens Linebacker Bart Scott.)[14] Lewis finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.[15]

Despite the Baltimore Ravens mediocre 2007 season, Ray Lewis was the team's leading tackler. Against the Browns, Lewis recorded 16 tackles, recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. He also earned his 9th Pro Bowl nod in his 12 year career. He finished the season with 120 total tackles, 2 sacks, 10 passes deflected, 2 Interceptions and 1 touchdown.

Indicted for murder

Despite his accomplishments on the field, Lewis' public image was tarnished following a Super Bowl party on January 31, 2000. Following this party a fight broke out and Jacinth Baker, 21, and Richard Lollar, 24, died from stab wounds. Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were brought to an Atlanta police station for questioning. Eleven days later, along with Oakley and Sweeting, Lewis was indicted for murder and aggravated assault.

During the trial, several witnesses whose testimony would supposedly prove Lewis’ guilt had altered their stories initially given to investigators.[citation needed] Their testimonies were supposed to show that Ray Lewis hit, kicked or stabbed someone, and that he even admitted as much afterwards. Instead, the vast majority of testimony had either been inconclusive, or else supported the defense’s contention that Lewis acted solely as a peacemaker, trying to prevent a tragedy that he would be tied to and potentially hurt his career. According to ESPN legal analyst, Alan J. Baverman, "as to Ray Lewis, there is no evidence that he assisted anybody in a stabbing or encouraged anybody to do a stabbing which would make him a party to felony murder, malice murder, or felony assault with a knife."[16]

Lewis's attorney arranged with prosecutors to dismiss the murder charges if Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice[17] in exchange for him testifying against Oakley and Sweeting. Lewis accepted the plea bargain and was sentenced to one year of probation. He was not suspended by the NFL but was fined US$250,000, a league record at the time.

Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted of the charges in June 2000. No other suspects have ever been arrested for the crime. It is still believed by Atlanta Police that Ray Lewis is guilty of this crime.

The following year, Lewis was named Super Bowl XXXV MVP. However, due to the controversy, he did not get the endorsements or the Disney World trip offered to recent MVP recipients. The signature phrase "I'm going to Disney World!" was given instead by quarterback Trent Dilfer.

On April 29 2004, Lewis reached a settlement with four-year-old India Lollar, born months after the death of her father Richard, preempting a scheduled civil proceeding. [18] Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker's family.

Reputation

Throughout his career Lewis has built a reputation as a leader and intimidating force at middle linebacker. He has led his team in tackles in nine of his eleven seasons. His defenses are consistently ranked among the best during his stint.[19] The Ravens did not allow a single 100-yard rusher in 51 consecutive games from the 1998 through 2001 season. In addition to his run defense Lewis has also gained a reputation as a complete defender. Since the murder allegations, Lewis's image has slowly recovered,[20] and today he is considered one of the most dominant linebackers in the history of the National Football League.[21][22][6][23] Lewis was also selected as the third best linebacker of all time on the show The Sports List. A poll of NFL coaches selected Lewis as the most dominant player in the NFL before the 2003 season by being mentioned on ten ballots while no other player was mentioned more than twice.[24]

Lewis's popularity has reached popular media as he has been referenced in various music videos by artists such as Mario in "Just a Friend 2002" and Nelly's "Heart of a Champion". Lewis has also done television spots for NFL Network, Reebok and Under Armour. Lewis was referenced in the film The Rundown by The Rock. He also appeared in a series of Baltimore/Washington local Eastern Motors commercials as "Inspector 52" with fellow NFL players Clinton Portis, Sean Taylor, and LaVar Arrington. Lewis was also the featured athlete on the cover of Madden NFL 2005.

Personal life

Lewis has been heavily involved in charitable activities throughout his professional career. Lewis started the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation which is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. The foundation has funded such events as adopting ten families in Baltimore City community for the holidays, an annual celebrity auction and bowling tournament, the Great Maryland Duck Derby, Thanksgiving food drives and Ray's Summer Days. All proceeds have helped fund the Ray Lewis Foundation.

Lewis has since been involved in pressing political, business and philanthropic leaders for a stronger commitment to disability sports both here and in the developing world. Lewis was also honored with a JB award (named in honor of CBS broadcaster James Brown) during the 2006 off-season and received the "Act of Kindness" Award for his work in the community. [6]

In addition to his efforts in the community Lewis is also an accomplished businessman. He opened the Ray Lewis Full Moon Bar-B-Que located in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood in February 2005. [25] He has also gained several national corporate endorsements, some of which draw upon his tough image. In 2004, Lewis was placed on the cover of the highly popular Madden NFL 2005 video game distributed by EA Sports. Lewis also joined with Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers and entrepreneur Mark Bloomquist to form S&L Racing, which will race both cars and trucks. The team is headquartered in North Carolina, and already races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He is the older brother of former University of Maryland star Keon Lattimore[26]. He has a son, Ray Lewis III who plays quarterback at Lake Mary Prep and was named to the Football University Youth American Bowl.

External links

Template:MaddenNFL-Athlete Template:2002 Pro Bowl AFC starters Template:2009 Pro Bowl AFC starters

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