Saturday night Ray Lewis, a former star at Kathleen High School in Lakeland, who later became a fear middle linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes, and then one of the great middle linebackers of all time for the Baltimore Ravens, was immortalized at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Lewis’ took his place alongside the greats of the game along with the likes of Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Jerry Kramer and Brian Dawkins in the 2018 class on Saturday night.
His nearly 35 minute induction time was more of rousing emotional sermon of thanks than an actual speech.
— NFL (@NFL) August 5, 2018
After achieving All-American High School honors playing for Kathleen in the early 1990’s, Lewis chose to head south to Coral Gables to play his college football. He was a college All American his final year (1995) with the Hurricanes and recorded the second most tackles in Miami football history. This included a game against West Virginia where he recorded 15 of them.
Lewis was the 26th pick overall in the first round by the Ravens in 1996, his career from then on, was nothing short as spectacular.
He played in 17 season all for the Ravens where he retired in 2012. He’s a 13 time Pro Bowler and seven time first team All-Pro, and three times second team All-Pro. He’s a two time Defensive Player of the Year, won two Super Bowls, retiring after winning the second one in 2013. And, he was a Super Bowl MVP in 2001.
Lewis finished his career with an incredible 2,061 tackles (think about that one), 41.5 sacks, 67 pass deflections, 31 INTs, 17 forced fumbles and 3 TDs.
Lewis’ election and induction is not without controversy, as he was charged along with others in double homicide on a cold night Superbowl week in Atlanta in 2000. Lewis was later acquitted on all charges and resumed his career. Amazingly, a year later he was holding the Lomabardi Trophy with his teammates in Tampa.
SI.com’s Robert Klemko addressed the story this weekend, the controversy, and his encounter with Lewis questioning him about the situation and his feelings on it back in that 2013 Superbowl season.
Obviously, that feature illustrates the NFL’s and the Ravens’ desire to have Lewis’ legal troubles be left in past. Yet, it will always be part of his story.
Back to the field, when talking about Ray Lewis, there’s not doubt that he’s certainly one of the best defensive players ever to play in the NFL. You can argue he’s the most dominant MLB in the last 25 years.
Lewis joins, Ted Hendricks, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Cortez Kennedy, Jim Otto and Warren Sapp as former Miami players to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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