At 35-years-old Ray Lewis is still one of the most intimidating players in the league and remains one of the best linebackers in the game as well. While he might have a little bit more gray and he might be in his 15th year, he’s just as dominating and just a feared as he was when he first came into the league.
It has been a decade now since Ray Lewis has tasted victory in the NFL at the highest level and he is starved to get back on the grandest stage in the NFL. While he continues to get older, so do the players around him on the defensive side of the ball for the Ravens and the window of opportunity for Lewis to capture his second Super Bowl ring could be starting to close a little bit.
After a 12-4 season this year, Baltimore heads into the playoffs with a lot of confidence and they have a great shot of getting to Dallas, but they will definitely have their hands full this weekend. Not only do they have to go into Arrowhead Stadium in January to take on the Chiefs in a playoff game, but the Ravens defense will have to contend with Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, and one of the best running games in the NFL.
Ray Lewis joined ESPN Radio with Ryen Russillo and Scott Van Pelt to talk about if he felt he would be playing at this kind of level in his 15th NFL season, what he thinks makes him so intimidating on the field, and talks about savoring these kind of moments.
On whether or not he felt he could play at such a high level this late in his career:
“Honestly you really don’t think that far down the road, but for me I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. I’ve enjoyed my 15th year like it was my first year. The bottom line is if you love the game, just love the game. That’s me. I just love the game and whether I’m playing like that in my fifth year or my 15th year it’s the same for me.”
On what makes him so intimidating:
“I think probably the consistency of hitting someone and then ragging on them. The game still comes down to the game and that’s what I tell people all the time. It’s a 60 minute ballgame. I tell people, hey I might get beat before and I might get caught, but the challenge is can you do that for 60 minutes? Can you block me for 60 minutes? Can you get me to not be in the game for 60 minutes? That’s what I enjoy the most is that it’s a pure battle for 60 minutes. When you run into somebody full speed you want them to feel what you feel like. That’s what I think earns respect in this league as well.”
On savoring these moments:
“I think the thing is I can go back even to my sixth year when I ran into Rod Woodson and Shannon Sharpe and listen to the wisdom that they were giving me that it goes too fast, it goes way too fast. Rod was in his 13th or 14th year at the time and I was just in my fifth year. So now I’ve turned into that guy with Ray Rice, Michael Oher, and all these young guys to try and get them to understand that. Like this is it. Whether you realize it or not this is your opportunity. Nobody gets this opportunity. 32 teams came into these playoffs and now there are 12 left. 12 left and after this weekend it will be four on our side and four on the other side so you have to ask yourself what would you sacrifice for that brief moment? For me I don’t look past tomorrow, I don’t worry about my future, or when I’m retiring. All I worry about is going into Kansas City to try and get a win so they can see what that win feels like and move on, move on, and move on.”
Listen to Ray Lewis on ESPN Radio here (Audio begins 24:25 into the podcast)