Ray Lewis’ ride is one for the record books

The National Football League is going to lose one of the best linebackers in history at the end of the Baltimore Ravens’ season. Whether the Ravens win the Super Bowl or not, Ray Lewis announced that this will be his last season playing in the NFL. Lewis is recognized as one of the best linebackers to ever play football.  He has played all of his 17 seasons for Baltimore.

Lewis played three years for the University of Miami before being selected 26th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 draft. His lack of size (6’1”, 240 lbs) was a concern for many teams, but his tackling ability and speed outweighed that concern. Lewis had a stellar rookie season, which earned him All-Rookie team honors. The All-Rookie team rewards the rookies with the best stats and/or year in general among rookies.

That was just the beginning of an amazing career. He has racked up many awards throughout his NFL career; he has won Defensive Player of the Year twice, once in 2000 and the other time in 2003. Lewis has been named to the Pro Bowl 13 times and has been on the All-Pro first team seven times. Like many great players, Lewis played in, won, and took home Super Bowl MVP honors.

Along with these high moments in the life of Ray Lewis, there have also been low moments. In 2000, Lewis and two friends got into a fight at a party which ended in the death of two people of the opposing group. Lewis and his friends were indicted for murder. Lewis had the murder charges dismissed in exchange for testimonies against his friends and a plea for a misdemeanor of obstruction of justice. Lewis reached settlements with both of the affected families.

Ray Lewis has some impressive qualities, but none are better than his leadership. Lewis is arguably the best leader in any sport ever. In a recent segment on ESPN, former teammate Trent Dilfer said “Lewis is special because he is one of the few athletes where you can actually feel his leadership, not just hear it.” This is hard to comprehend for many because they haven’t been around anyone that has that powerful vibe. Lewis has a knack to “rally his troops” for big games and for his defense to make big stops. Lewis’s signature dance coming out of the tunnel before the game has become an iconic sight for sports. The energy Lewis creates with the fans and teammates is unmatched by anyone in football.

Lewis is planning on staying involved with football, reportingly accepting a job with ESPN for after his retirement.

The sport of football will miss Ray Lewis. Lewis is a player like none before him. From his pregame dance to his inspiring spiritual post game interviews, his improbable plays, and the gaudy stats, it’s safe to say there will never be another Ray Lewis.