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Ray Lewis

Lewis during a 2007 charity event
No. 52     Baltimore Ravens
Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: May 15, 1975 (1975-05-15) (age 34)
Place of birth: Bartow, Florida
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
College: University of Miami
NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
Debuted in 1996 for the Baltimore Ravens
Career history
 As player:
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2009
Tackles     1770 (1349 Solo)
Sacks     36.5
Interceptions     28
Stats at NFL.com

Ray Anthony Lewis (born May 15, 1975) is an American football linebacker who has played for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL) since 1996. Lewis has been selected to eleven Pro Bowls and been named an Associated Press All-Pro nine times.[2] He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003; he was the sixth player to win the award multiple times.[3] He was also the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award and the first linebacker to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team.

Contents

Biography

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Playing career

University of Miami

As a freshman at the University of Miami, Ray 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 9 tackle for a loss, 2 sacks, and an interception for a Hurricanes team that would finish #6 in both the writers' and coaches' polls.[4]

Lewis' junior campaign was another successful one as he was once again named to the All-American[5] and All-Big East teams. He was also the runner up for the Butkus Award.[6] 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 2 seasons and accumulated the 5th most in Miami history despite playing only 3 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.[7]

Baltimore Ravens

Lewis on the sidelines during a 2008 regular season game

The fifth linebacker selected in the 1996 NFL Draft, many scouts considered him to be too small to play linebacker. Lewis earned USA Today's All-Rookie team honors after leading the Ravens in tackles (110) in the 1996 season. His 15 tackles for loss led the NFL. He added 2.5 sacks, 6 pass deflections, and an interception on the season.

Lewis recorded an NFL best 184 tackles in 1997, earning his first Pro Bowl berth at the end of that season. In addition, Lewis totaled 4 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and 11 pass deflections.

In 1998, Lewis made his second trip to the Pro Bowl after recording 120 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, a forced fumble, and 7 pass deflections 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.[8]

In 1999, Lewis led the NFL in tackles with 168. He was named to a third straight Pro Bowl and was named to the All-Pro 1st team. He also totaled 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 8 pass deflections,safety, and a forced fumble. Lewis also won the 1999 NFL Alumni Linebacker Of The Year chosen by past NFL ALUMNI professional players, who chose according to the position in which they played.

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 137 tackles once again led the Ravens, and Lewis added 31 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 162 and earned 1st-team All-Pro honors. Lewis scored a touchdown in the 2002 Pro Bowl. In the Raven's 2 playoff games Lewis totaled 17 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 pass deflection.

In 2002, Lewis was limited to five games due to a shoulder injury. He still managed to rank 5th on the team with 58 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".[9] After having been selected to the Pro Bowl for five consecutive seasons (1997-2001), Lewis's streak was stopped by his season ending injury.

Lewis roaming the sidelines in a 2005 game at Ford Field

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 in four years, the 2003 NFL Alumni Linebacker Of The Year, and finished with 161 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 14 pass deflections, and 1 touchdown.. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Month for November[10] and AFC Defensive Player of the week for his fifteen-tackle, one-interception performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17.[11] In the playoffs Lewis totaled 17 tackles.

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, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 fumble forced, and 6 pass deflections.

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, 2 pass deflections, 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.[12] He was also selected to the Pro Bowl but withdrew because of a hand injury, ceding his spot to fellow Ravens Linebacker Bart Scott.)[13] Lewis finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.[14] Lewis totaled 15 tackles and a pass deflection in the playoffs.

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, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 10 passes deflected, 2 Interceptions and 1 touchdown.

In 2008 Lewis led the Ravens to the AFC Championship game while totaling 117 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 9 passes deflected. He was named a starter to the Pro Bowl (his 10th) and was named an Associated Press 1st Team All-Pro for the sixth time. In addition, Lewis was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week following his 8 tackle, 2 interception, 2 pass deflection performance against the Houston Texans in Week 10. In the playoffs, Lewis totaled 29 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 pass deflection in 3 games. After the season, Lewis became an unrestricted free agent, but agreed to return to the Baltimore Ravens to complete his career. The contract, which runs through 2015 (including two option years), is said to be worth $10 million the first year but is highly incentivized[15].

In 2009 Lewis was named 1st team All Pro by the Associated Press for the seventh time (9th selection overall) and named to his eleventh Pro Bowl. Lewis accumulated an AFC-leading 134 tackles on the season. He also added 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 7 passes deflected. Lewis added 21 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass deflection in 2 playoff games. In the Sept. 2009 issue of Sporting News' Magazine, Lewis was selected to their Team of the Decade (2000's). In Week 2 in 2009 against the Chargers, Lewis made the game-saving tackle on Darren Sproles. After the game, Lewis said that it was one of the best tackles he's made in his career.[16]

At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Lewis has career totals of 1,770 total tackles (1,349 solo), 14 forced fumbles, 105 passes defended, 94.5 tackles for loss, 36.5 sacks, 16 fumble recoveries, 28 interceptions, one safety and two touchdowns in 194 games[17][18]. Lewis has been selected to eleven NFL Pro Bowl games, a record for an Inside/Middle Linebacker, in his fourteen 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 post-merger all-time record for a middle linebacker in a single season. Lewis was named 1st team Associated Press All-Pro in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2nd team All-Pro in 1997 and 1998. In 13 career playoff games Lewis has totaled 130 tackles (85 solo), 1 sack, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions for 54 yards, 13 pass deflections, and 1 touchdown.

Arrested for murder

Following a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000, a fight broke out between him and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were brought to an Atlanta police station for questioning. Eleven days later, the three were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges.

At the trial, the vast majority of testimony was either inconclusive or supported the defense’s contention that Lewis acted solely as a peacemaker. ESPN legal analyst Alan J. Baverman said, "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."[19]

Lewis's attorney arranged for the murder charges against Lewis to be dropped in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice.[20]. Lewis was sentenced to one year of probation and was fined US$250,000 by the NFL, which was believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFL player for an infraction not involving substance abuse.[21]

Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted of the charges in June 2000.[22] No other suspects have ever been arrested for the crime.

The following year, Lewis was named Super Bowl XXXV MVP. However, due to the controversy,[citation needed] 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. Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker's family.[23]

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.[24] 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,[25] and today he is considered one of the most dominant linebackers in the history of the National Football League.[7][26][27][28] 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.[29]

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 was born in Bartow, Florida. He 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 on North Avenue in Baltimore 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. [7]

He opened the Ray Lewis Full Moon Bar-B-Que which operated in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood from February 2005 until 2008. [30] 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, and is also a very avid player of the football video game series. In 2006 it was announced that Lewis, Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers and entrepreneur Mark Bloomquist would form S&L Racing, intending to race both cars and trucks from a North Carolina headquarters.[31] The attempt to join NASCAR racing failed.[32]

He is the older brother of former University of Maryland running back Keon Lattimore[33]. He has a son, Ray Lewis IV, who plays quarterback at Lake Mary Prep and was named to the Football University Youth Projects Bowl.

References

  1. ^ http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=combined&year_min=1920&year_max=2009&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&league_id=&team_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos_is_ilb=Y&c1stat=&c1comp=gt&c1val=&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=pro_bowls
  2. ^ "Lewis Bio". baltimoreravens.com. http://www.baltimoreravens.com/Team/PlayerBio.aspx?id=1110. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  3. ^ "Lewis wins DPOY". espn.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1697627. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  4. ^ Miami In the Polls]
  5. ^ Hickok Sports.com - History - Football All-America Teams 1977-present
  6. ^ http://www.espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/Lewis_Ray.html
  7. ^ a b c [1]
  8. ^ http://www.databasefootball.com/boxscores/gamedata.htm?dy=27&mth=12&yr=1998&tm=BAL&lg=NFL
  9. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story/5768877
  10. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story/6893098
  11. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story/6965425
  12. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story/9658473
  13. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2748577
  14. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2721073
  15. ^ Lewis Re-Ups With Ravens SI.com, March 11, 2009
  16. ^ Corbett, Jim (September 20, 2009). "Ray Lewis the 'firestarter' as thumping hit stops Chargers". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2009-09-20-ravens-chargers_N.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  17. ^ Player Bios (A - O)
  18. ^ http://www.baltimoreravens.com/uploadedFiles/Team/Generic/Ravens_2007_Final_Stats.pdf
  19. ^ http://www.courttv.com/talk/chat_transcripts/Lewis.html
  20. ^ ESPN Classic - Lewis knows Super Bowl tragedy, triumph
  21. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/story?id=100761&page=1
  22. ^ Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis, National Football League - CBSSports.com
  23. ^ Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis, National Football League - CBSSports.com
  24. ^ Baltimore Ravens
  25. ^ Steele: Vick will need a replay of Lewis' major image rehab - baltimoresun.com
  26. ^ Players to rave about
  27. ^ Features - NFL pro football articles and coverage from Pro Football Weekly
  28. ^ No. 18: The ultimate defender Ray Lewis - USATODAY.com
  29. ^ Ray Lewis, Marshall Faulk, Brett Favre, National Football League - CBSSports.com
  30. ^ ESPN Page 2 - Gallo: The '72 Dolphins speak out
  31. ^ "Sayers, Lewis Launch S&L Racing". 2006-03-23. http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/03/23/001774.html. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  32. ^ "NFL star Ray Lewis turned away by NASCAR? Starts Champ Car team". 2007-04-10. http://autoracingsport.com/nfl-star-ray-lewis-turned-away-by-nascar-starts-champ-car-team/. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  33. ^ http://umterps.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/lattimore_keon00.html

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Raymond Anthony "Ray" Lewis (born May 15, 1975) is an American football linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). Lewis has appeared in nine Pro Bowls and been named an All-Pro seven times.

Sourced

  • "A linebacker's job is to knock out running backs, to knock out receivers, to chase the football."

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