Ray Lewis will go down as a Hall of Famer off the field, too
After nearly two decades of football dominance, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced Wednesday he’ll retire after this season’s postseason run. Lewis is arguably one of the best players of all time, and unarguably one of the best linebackers.
On the field, he has perfected the position, becoming one of the most superior defensive forces the game has ever seen.
But ultimately, it’s everything Lewis has done off the field that may end up defining his legacy.
His playing resume easily makes him one of this generation’s all-time greats. He earned 13 Pro Bowls selections, seven all-pro selections, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, and a Super Bowl MVP award. He’s also one of the few players who spent his entire career with one team, and one of those rare players where the city’s characteristics actually mirrors its star and vice versa. Baltimore represents grittiness, blue-collar work ethic and passion. Lewis showcases those same traits on the football field.
When many think of Lewis though, it’s hard not to remember that his amazing career could’ve easily never happened. In 2000, Lewis was embroiled in a murder trial. After originally being charged for murder, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and escaped jail time. The following season, Lewis led one of the most dominant Ravens’ defenses in football history to the Super Bowl, where he won the only NFL Championship of his career.
What’s really astounding about Lewis’ career was that he used the same energy and drive he brought to the football field to all of his other passions; namely, charitable work, getting involved in the Baltimore community, and mentoring anyone that needed help.
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