Now I'm not a particular fan of the Ravens. Their GM is pretty good, Flacco sucks, defense has always been solid (until this year) has pretty much been what I thought of Baltimore as a pats fan. However, I have grown to admire and respected Ray Lewis. He was the king, the star elite LB in the league, a key face of the league. And it wasn't just his play that impressed me, it was his passion (pre-game speeches were awesome), his leadership, and his character that really sold me on Lewis, and this is why I'm writing this. I feel like a player/person of his statue deserves this.
Ray Lewis will not only be remembered for his intensity on the field, for his unrivaled passion for the game, for his unquestionable ability to lead his men to battle,for his incredible mastery of his position, but for the amount of people he's inspired, and the many many lives he's touched and changed for the better over his long career as a Raven. He really cared for the people around him and the people of Baltimore. He was the heart of that city and he has constantly shown it through actions both on and off the field throughout the years. He was the ultimate professional and role model in the NFL for a decade. His signature showmanship, exceptional play, and fiery passion at ILB are what most people will remember about Ray Lewis.
Yet they should also remember Ray Lewis the teammate, who would be the first to sit a your locker if you were struggling in your football life or personal life. Ray Lewis the philanthropist, who has been so committed in charitable works that a street in Baltimore has been renamed in his honor. Ray Lewis the Mentor, if a player needed teaching, if a player needed counseling, if a player needed therapy, if a player needed a father figure, Ray Lewis would do his best to play fill that need, and for a many a player he did. Ray cared that much about his teammates. Is Ray Lewis perfect, no. Is his past completely unblemished, no. Was he always the great leader/father/man he is today, no. He has made mistakes along the way, but the fact that he has transformed into the inspirational role model he is today through the life lessons he has learned just goes to show how people go change no matter who they are.
He is the most respected player in the NFL , he is pride of the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland, but most importantly he is consummate example of what a leader, a true leader should be. Someone who actively wants to make the people around him better, not just in football, but in all walks of life, and Raymond Anthony Lewis has done that. And that is why he will truly be missed the day he hangs it up.