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The Greatest Leader in the 10th Century NFL?

We all know and love the iconic player that is Ray Lewis, but as a leader his abilities are unparalleled. In a league that is increasingly Quarterback-centric, that is the highest praise.

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Ray Lewis. Icon. Hall of Famer. Legend. GOAT.

Now TV personality and inspirational speaker. But the most underrated part of his legacy were his motivational abilities. In 2012, despite his and Ed Reed's eroding skills, he took a team with one of the least talented defenses of his career and turned them into a solid, opportunistic defense which was able to create additional opportunities for Joe Flacco's elite offensive output.

But how do you value something as intangible as leadership abilities?

Jack Del Rio has coached and played in cities such as Baltimore, Denver, Dallas, New Orleans, Carolina, Kansas City, Minnesota and Jacksonville. Amongst the players he crossed paths with are Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Peyton Manning, Steve Smith, Jimmy Smith (WR), Earl Campbell, Rickey Jackson, Ken Norton, Chris Doleman, John Randle, Cris Carter, and Warren Moon.

But when asked who was the best leader, he answered without hesitation: Ray Lewis.

Here is what he had to say:

When asked which one was the best leader, Del Rio told Talk of Fame Sports Network: "They’re all incredibly passionate. They’re all very driven, hard-working guys. [And] they’re all going to be in the Hall of Fame soon. [But] In my mind, Ray was the best."

Del Rio worked side by side with Lewis from 1999 to 2001, when he was the Ravens linebackers coach.

"When Ray spoke in team meetings you could hear a pin drop," Del Rio said. "If there was ever a moment where our team was lagging, not playing hard, not competing hard ... just maybe lacking a little fire ... all you had to do was just mention it to Ray, and he would grab ahold of the whole team and just ignite that team."