Ray Lewis’s Career Looking Back
Each season, the Super Bowl gives us great story-lines and even better headlines.
This year however, the storyline with Ray Lewis came much sooner than the big game, it came prior to the playoffs with his announcement that this would be his final season in the NFL.
The future Hall of Famer has garnered the respect of his peers, the league and many fans throughout the world. This however, wasn't always the case.
Before we get to Lewis in the NFL, lets look back to his days as a amateur football player.
Lewis grew up in Bartow, Florida in a football family. His younger brother attended the University of Maryland as a running back and both attended Kathleen High School where Ray was a All-American linebacker and wrestling star.
After High School, Lewis went on to attend the U, the University of Miami. As a freshman, he was named to the Freshman All-American team and subsequently made the All-American list in his sophomore and junior campaigns as well.
He decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft where he was selected in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens with the 26th overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.
In his first couple of seasons in the NFL, Lewis was certainly productive. Garnishing awards, making the Pro Bowl and getting national attention. However, in January of 2000, his life would forever change.
Outside a night club in Atlanta following a Super Bowl party, a murder occurred and Ray Lewis was a prime suspect.
Initially no charges were filed, but eventually Ray Lewis and two other companions were charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Lewis proclaimed his innocence and later compiled a plea deal with the Fulton County district attorney in which he would provide testimony against his two friends in exchange for a charge of "Obstruction of Justice" and no jail time.
The two other companions ended up going to trial but were later acquitted of the murder charges.
At this point, Lewis had to rebuild his career on and off the field. The on the field part wasn't hard.
The following season Lewis and the Ravens went to the Super Bowl themselves and won with Lewis being named the Super Bowl MVP.
Ray Lewis has gone on to set numerous records with his passionate play on the field. Years have passed and he has been able to re-gain the respect of his peers and the public.
He is a 13x Pro Bowler, 7x AP All-First Team NFL, 2x AP All Defensive Player of the Year and part of the NFL's 2000's All Decade team.
Fast forward to now and this season. Lewis was injured during the season with a torn triceps muscle and many thought this would be the end to his career.
But not Ray, he began rehab, stayed in shape and targeted a return to the playoffs if the Ravens were to make it.
They did and he did exactly what he set out to do, write his own script to the ending of his hall of fame career.
After 3 inspirational wins later, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves in the Super Bowl vs. the San Francisco 49ers.
Whether the Ravens win or lose, it will be the end to the illustrious career of one Ray Lewis. Opposing teams probably wont miss him, but I'm sure the league will miss him and I know the fans will.