After 17 years, 13 Pro Bowls, seven time All-Pro, and a Super Bowl championship, Ray Lewis has announced that he will be retiring from the NFL after the playoffs. But Lewis not only will leave Baltimore as one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game, he will leave a lasting legacy that probably will not be matched.
His individual accomplishments are tremendous and will make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2018: 12 career Pro Bowl appearances, seven first team All-Pro selections, 227 starts in 228 career games, one Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award, two Defensive Player of the Year honors. He was the young cornerstone of the Ravens in 2000, led by RodWoodson, that set an NFL record for the fewest points allowed in a 16-game season and smothered the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, winning 34-7.
Lewis was drafted out of the University of Miami in the first round of the 1996 Draft. He was the second pick in the history of the Baltimore Ravens, behind Jonathan Ogden, who was picked earlier in the draft. Thought to be to small for a linebacker, Lewis has not stopped leading the Ravens defense, and has made them the best defensive team over the last decade.
However, most fans have a different image of Lewis that is away from the playing field. Lewis’ involvement in the murder of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker on a January night in 2000 led many people to think differently on Lewis’ legacy.
Some people, will never forget that incident and always give the “yeah but” statement whenever people talk about his accomplishments. However, for me, I will always look at him for his on the field achievements and not his problems off the gridiron. Being a Miami Hurricanes fan, Lewis will always be one of my personal favorite players and. He’s without a doubt the best player in the history of the Ravens and will be missed by the league and the fans.