Seven men will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this Saturday - kicker Morten Anderson, running back Terrell Davis, safety Kenny Easley, owner Jerry Jones, defensive end Jason Taylor, running back LaDanian Tomlinson and quarterback Kurt Warner. Two former Baltimore Ravens are expected to join the Class of 2017 in Canton over the next two offseasons.
Legendary linebacker Ray Lewis will most likely be a unanimous first ballot Hall of Famer who headlines the class of 2018. And his longtime teammate, the ballhawk himself, Ed Reed will presumably be right on his heels as part of the 2019 class. Both are clearly among the all-time greats, and quite possibly the greatest, to ever play their positions.
Even Elliott Harrison, an NFL analyst who seemingly enjoys throwing shade at the Ravens, believes this pair is worthy of first ballot status:
Ray played in 249 games over his career, including the playoffs; accumulating 1,645 solo tackles, 544 assisted tackles, 19 forced fumbles, 20 fumble recoveries, 33 interceptions, 43.5 sacks and four touchdowns. Lewis also earned first team All-Pro honors seven times, Pro Bowl selection 13 times, and a 223 career approximate total value according to Pro Football Reference.
Ed played in 189 total games; with 73 interceptions, 156 passes defended, 11 forced fumbles, 14 fumbles recovered, six sacks, 531 solo tackles, 1,947 all-purpose return yards and nine touchdowns. Furthermore, Reed was a five-time first team All-Pro, nine-time Pro Bowler, and Pro Football Reference rated him with a career approximate value of 136.
Lewis and Reed will join Jonathan Ogden as the three Hall of Fame inductees in Ravens franchise history. Current Ravens Terrell Suggs, Marshal Yanda and Ozzie Newsome, as a general manager, should also meet them in Canton them when their times come.
The city of Baltimore was supremely fortunate to have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed play for our hometown team. It is highly unlikely the Ravens will ever have two defenders of their caliber play simultaneously again. We should cherish the golden age of Ravens defense that this pair spearheaded for more than a decade.