According to a recent poll of NFL players in Sports Illustrated, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is still feared by an overwhelming majority of the guys in the league on the other side of the ball. In a story posted on ProFootballTalk.com, it says that other than Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison, Lewis is the most feared player in the league.
Even after 16 years in the NFL, long after most players have either seen their skills greatly diminish, much less long after their playing days are over, Ray remains one of, if not the top inside linebacker in the NFL. At 36 years old, he is the team's leading tackler, 12th in the league in solo tackles and has an interception, two sacks and two forced fumbles so far in 2011.
In addition, after getting eight solo tackles in the game, including a sack on Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub in Sunday's 29-14 win, Lewis became the first player in NFL history with 40 sacks and 30 interceptions. The stats may add up over the years, but it is the consistent high quality of performance from this guy that makes him the best linebacker to ever play the game and in this writers opinion, based on that high level for play for 16 seasons, the best player in NFL history at any position to ever lace up the cleats.