Linebacker Ray Lewis has gone from being a lightly regarded football player in his youth to one of the most feared linebackers in the National Football League. At 6 feet one inch and weighing 250 pounds, Ray Lewis is not the prototypical NFL linebacker in size, but his intensity and unwillingness to quit on a given play rank among the strongest professional football has ever experienced. Perhaps the greatest asset of Ray Lewis on the field lies in his ability to bond with and motivate his team mates to perform at the same consistently high level that he does in every contest.
Born on May 15, 1975 in Bartow, Florida Lewis decides to attend the University of Miami upon graduation from high school. At the beginning of his college football career Lewis saw little action on the field as a freshman until the midway point of the season. Starting the final five games however, Lewis opened the eyes of Miami coaches and fans of the greatness to come. The next season as a sophomore, Lewis had an outstanding year making 152 tackles with two sacks and one interception and was named to the All-American Team. As a Junior, Lewis continued his strong play by making 160 tackles along with two sacks and two interceptions and was again named an All-American.
Deciding to skip his senior year at Miami, Ray Lewis was selected in the 1st round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens with the 26th selection. In his rookie season Lewis led the Ravens in tackles and had 2.5 sacks and 1 interception. Ever since, Ray Lewis has been the heart and soul of the Baltimore defense and considered by most to be the best NFL linebacker to come along since Lawrence Taylor. Named to 11 Pro Bowls and nine times an All-Pro, Ray Lewis was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice (2000 & 2003) and was named three times the AFC Defensive Player of the Year. For his career thus far, Lewis has amassed 1,770 tackles along with 36.5 sacks and 28 interceptions.
Without question, the likeness of Ray Lewis will grace the hallowed halls of the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday as a member, it appears now to be simply a matter of how long Lewis decides to continue playing. Off the field Ray Lewis has gained distinction for his charitable works, including the creation of the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation which provides assistance to disadvantaged youth.