Ray Lewis’ Legacy Complete

gty_ray_lewis_kb_130203_wgThe clock struck 0:0, The Ravens are NFL World Champions, Super Bowl winners. Ray Lewis has played his last down, played his last game, ending an era like few seen before.

Lewis has a checkered past, we all know this, double murder trial,the bad boy from the U. Yet Lewis has battled back, been the face of his franchise. Becoming the face of linebackers past and future. Owners, general managers, and coaches will for ever more utter, we want a linebacker like Ray Lewis. That may be the highest honor you can gain in any profession. People saying they need someone like you.

Lewis has played his last down, did he have a great Super Bowl, not at all by statistical terms. He managed 7 tackles, yet none were wow worthy.Yet, by walking on the winning side and raising the  Lombardi Trophy, oh yes Lewis had one of the best Super Bowl’s of all time, from a personal standpoint. Hell it seems even God wanted a few more minutes of Lewis with the power outage.

You have all read by now the side of well the referees were told to favor the Ravens for a great story line. The truth is the Ravens rallied around Lewis wanting to send him off a champion. You hear the same argument for the Seahawks versus the Pittsburgh Steelers when Jerome Bettis was playing what most were assuming his last game in his hometown of Detroit. Were there some calls in both games questionable, yes, but aren’t there questionable calls in most postseason games, and most Super Bowls. It is a huge stage for not only the players and coaches, but also for the refs. Those refs are awarded the Super Bowl for their performance throughout the year. They are supposed to be the best of the best as are the teams playing. Yet you will have the 1989 Broncos show up as referees now and then.

Lewis hugged Terrell Suggs shortly after the gun sounded. Later he would hoist his second and final Lombardi trophy.  Lewis completed his career a champion, not something most professional athletes can say. Lewis is an all-time great and he got to go out on all-time great terms.

The legacy Lewis leaves is one of triumph over adversity. Following that first Super Bowl victory back in 2000, Lewis was in the headlines, for a double murder charge. He later made a plea deal to a misdemeanor of obstruction of justice. Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker were with Lewis on the night of the stabbing, two men lost their lives yet no one was ever convicted. Lollar and Baker were acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

Since those dark days Lewis has changed his ways and his life around. He has established the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation that helps out disadvantaged youths. He also supports USAID,  he has helped La’ Shaun Armstrong, whose mother drowned herself and three of her children. La’Shaun escaped from the van she drove into the Hudson River on April 12, 2011. Lewis was quoted by The Post, “This is a hard situation and he is forever changed. We are not going to let him do it alone, we are going to be here for him for ever. We are human and to hear that story… as soon as I heard it, I was like, ‘I need to find him.’ Nobody is supposed to walk through life alone with that, especially being 10 years old.”

Lewis is more than a football player now, he learned from his mistakes. Yes he is an all-time great. He has 1573 career tackles, 41.5 sacks, and 31 int, making him the first and only member of the 40/30 club. He capped his career with a Super Bowl victory, he didn’t dominate, but his presence during the Ravens run is immeasurable. Lewis will be missed like all greats, but unlike most we can remember Ray Lewis as the dominating linebacker, instead of a guy in Vikings uniform. By Steve Kish


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