Ray Lewis is widely considered to be one of the most dominant defensive players in the history of the NFL. Lewis led the Baltimore Ravens to victory in Super Bowl XXXV (where he was named Super Bowl MVP) and again in Super Bowl XLVII, in what would be the final game of his career. Lewis is only the second player in NFL history to win both the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP awards in the same year (2000). Ray Lewis was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot in the class of 2018.
The Ravens’ all-time career leader in tackles and fumble recoveries, Lewis is also the only player in NFL history with at least 40 career sacks and over 30 interceptions. Lewis’s 13 Pro Bowl selections are tied for the fifth-most in the NFL by any player, and is the most by a linebacker. He was named AP All-Pro ten times and NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice (2000 and 2003). Lewis played in 228 games, including 11 playoff games. Lewis’s historic comeback to play in 2012 following a torn triceps injury secured him the record of the most tackles by one defender in any NFL postseason (51).
Lewis is also one of only six players to earn the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award multiple times (2000 and 2003). Named to the 2000s All-Decade Team, Lewis was the second draft pick in Ravens history—the No. 26 pick overall in the 1996 NFL Draft.
How it All Started
Ray spent his high school career playing for Kathleen High School in Florida. At Kathleen, Lewis was a standout wrestler and football player. During his four years at the school he led his squads to a bevy of city and state titles in football and wrestling. Lewis later went on to play for the University of Miami Hurricanes. At the end of his junior year, Lewis was named runner-up for the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker.
After the NFL
Ray was the featured athlete on the cover of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 2005, and he was profiled in the NFL Network’s documentary series A Football Life. Lewis has also appeared in television spots for Madden NFL 13, Under Armour, Old Spice, Visa, and other products. Lewis joined ESPN as an NFL studio analyst in 2013 and regularly appeared on Monday Night Countdown, Sunday Night Countdown, and SportsCenter, in addition to contributing to ESPN’s annual Super Bowl coverage through 2016. He transitioned as a guest analyst on Fox Sports in 2016. In 2017 Ray also joined hosts James Brown, Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason on Showtime’s Inside the NFL as a regular contributor.
Lewis, who earned his undergraduate degree in Arts and Science in 2004 from the University of Maryland University College, is involved in charitable activities, motivational speaking, and mentoring. In May 2010, a portion of Baltimore’s North Avenue was renamed “Ray Lewis Way” in honor of his charitable work. Similar honors include a 2006 JB Award (named for CBS broadcaster James Brown) and an “Act of Kindness” Award for his community work.
Today, Lewis is a New York Times best-selling author for his breakout memoir I Feel Like Going On, a frequent guest on Fox Sports shows Undisputed and The Herd, as well as an in-demand motivational speaker. He devotes his time to being a father, speaker, businessman and community activist. In 2015, Lewis partnered with Rob Wallace to found Power52, a community solar solution. Power52 provides affordable renewable energy to inner city communities. Lewis also launched the Tackling Life podcast in 2016 with Dr. Christian Conte.
In addition, he helped launch Ferguson 1000, Baltimore 1000, LA 1000 and Global 1000 in 2016 with Dr. E. Lance McCarthy and Dr. Dave Spence. This global initiative seeks to be a primary engine for economic development in urban cities in America and globally. The objective is to leverage the available assets within the city to drive growth, create jobs, and improve quality of life through corporate relationships and minority business development. The initiative is responsible for filling over 3500 jobs to-date. Lewis is also an official partner with Under Armour, seeking to bring help and hope through community impact programs.
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