Ray Lewis Still Hears His Doubters Every Time He Prepares for a New Season

October 19, 2011 – 8:30 am by Chris Fedor

Ray Lewis’ NFL resume is incredibly impressive and yet his record-setting career is a long way from over. He has been the NFL’s Defensive MVP twice, he has a Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP to his credit, and just recently he became the first defensive player in the history of the league to notch 40 sacks and 30 interceptions. He’s not done though. Even though some people continue to think it’s just a matter of time before Lewis loses a step, the Ravens captain just continues to make plays and show the world why he is the best middle linebacker to ever lace up the cleats. Ray Lewis is the unquestioned leader of the Baltimore “D” and has his team in position once again to make another playoff run. As the Ravens have gotten off to another great start, Lewis is right where he has been since he stepped onto the field in 1996: At the center of the defense making plays and adding to his Hall-Of-Fame resume.

Ray Lewis joined WNST in Baltimore with Gleen Clark, Luke Jones, and Brendan Ayenbadejo to talk about whether or not he can sense how much a win means to the city of Baltimore, how he feels about the team sitting at 4-1, what he credits much of his NFL success to, whether or not individual numbers mean something to him, and if he laughs at people that say “this is the year Ray Lewis finally slows down.”

Whether or not he can sense how much a win means to the city of Baltimore:

“Let’s just keep it on both ends because we’re human as well. We know exactly how you guys feel. For years, for years I had to really find myself getting over something. My mom used to always get mad at me because after a loss nobody in the car can talk on the way home, nobody can talk at the house, and I used to really change the mood of my entire family by losing a game. Trust me we know exactly how you feel. We feel the same way in the locker room.”

How he feels about the team early in the season:

“I just think we’re at a great place right now. The first quarter of the season is over and the second quarter is starting. I just think now having that bye week and now having a Monday night game we get an extra week to get like everybody back. We haven’t had our starting rookie corner for the last three weeks, we haven’t had Lee Evans who’s been dealing with an injury, and we haven’t had Chris Carr so we’ve been kinda mixing around and shuffling some pieces as well. So for us to get completely healthy now that’s kinda what we’re excited about really as a team getting completely healthy.”

What he credits much of his NFL success to:

“I just credit a lot of that to longevity and really making my mind up at a young age about what I wanted to do. I didn’t shy away from it because I knew I was willing to work at it. I don’t have a secret or blueprint that I can pass along to anybody. The blueprint is very simple. Believe in yourself and once you believe in yourself set a goal, set a journey, create your own legacy, and chase it every day of your life. That’s all I did. That’s why I tell people a lot of times I don’t ever want to go back to being a 22 or 23-year-old Ray Lewis because there was too much I didn’t know then. Now playing the game now I appreciate the game more now than I could ever appreciate the game. That’s why you hear me speak about most of the time it’s all about the moment. It’s all about living right now in the moment.”

Whether or not his individual numbers mean much to him:

“A man told me a long time ago that men and women lie but numbers don’t. It speaks volumes when you have a certain number because a number is a legacy and somebody is chasing. You just set a legacy. At the end of the day the numbers are gonna remain one thing but your name is what is going to exist forever and somebody is going to be chasing that name for a long time. For that name to come to Baltimore in 1996 when we didn’t have a ball club and that name to 16 years later become the first player in NFL history to do it, it’s overwhelming. It’s kinda hard to put that into emotions ya know because I’m not done yet.”

If he laughs at the experts that doubt him and say “this might be the year Ray Lewis loses a step”

“Absolutely. Let me tell you something and this isn’t just for myself but this is to any young kid that wants to do anything. I’ve heard every critic say anything and everything they wanted to say about me since 1993. I was too small and could never play middle linebacker in this business, in 1996 Mel Kiper said I would go fourth round, year five I’m getting slow, year seven I’m getting slow, and every year it’s always something. They have to find something. To any critic I always say watch tape. That’s it. You don’t have to argue with anybody. The eye in the sky don’t lie. The only thing that follows work is results. I guarantee every time. Every time I go back to work, every offseason there’s always some voice that I hear in my ear saying you’re getting a step slower. Okay. Sooner or later somebody’s child is gonna have to report that message.”

Listen to Ray Lewis on WNST in Baltimore here

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