American Football Database
Ray Lewis

Lewis during a 2008 regular season game
No. 52     Baltimore Ravens
Personal information
Date of birth: (1975-05-15) May 15, 1975 (age 47)
Place of birth: Bartow, Florida
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
College: Miami (FL)
NFL Draft: 1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
Debuted in 1996 for the Baltimore Ravens
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2011
Tackles     2,004
Sacks     40.5
Interceptions     31
Stats at

Ray Anthony Lewis (born May 15, 1975) is an American football linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). Drafted by the Ravens in 1996, he has played his entire career for the team, and is the last player remaining from the Ravens' inaugural season. He has been selected to thirteen Pro Bowls and been named an Associated Press All-Pro ten times.[5] He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003; he was the sixth player to win the award multiple times.[6] He was also the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award and the first linebacker to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team. Widely considered to be one of the best linebackers of all time, he played college football at the University of Miami.


Early life

Lewis was born in Bartow, Florida.[7] He is the older brother of former University of Maryland running back Keon Lattimore.[8] Lewis was an All-American linebacker and wrestling star at Kathleen High School in Lakeland.[7][9]


University of Miami

As a freshman at the University of Miami, Ray Lewis was an immediate contributor and became a starter for the Hurricanes' final five games. He compiled 81 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and four pass deflections en route to being named to the freshman All-American team.

In his sophomore season, Lewis earned 1st team All-American and All-Big East honors. Lewis led the Big East with 153 tackles and also contributed 9 tackle for a loss, 2 sacks, and an interception for a Hurricanes team that had the nation's top-ranked defense and finished No. 6 in both the writers' and coaches' polls.[10]

Lewis' junior campaign was another successful one as he was once again named to the All-American[11] and All-Big East teams. He was also the runner up for the Butkus Award.[12] Lewis finished his junior season with 160 tackles, the 2nd highest in University of Miami team history behind only Ed Weisacosky's 164 in 1965. Lewis also totaled eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, four pass deflections and one touchdown. Against West Virginia University, Lewis contributed fifteen tackles.

Lewis led the Big East in tackles his final 2 seasons and accumulated the 5th most in Miami history despite having played only 3 seasons.

After the 1995 season, Lewis decided to forego his final year of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft. In the 1996 NFL Draft, he was selected in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens with the 26th overall pick. Lewis would eventually earn his undergraduate degree in Arts and Science in 2004 at the University of Maryland University College.[13]

Baltimore Ravens


Lewis during a charity event.

Lewis was the top rated inside linebacker heading into the 1996 NFL Draft,[14][15] but Kevin Hardy was considered the draft's only outstanding prospect at linebacker.[16] The fifth linebacker selected in the draft, scouts saw Lewis' strengths as his speed, tackling and intensity, but many considered his lack of size a potential liability.[16][17][18] Lewis earned USA Today's All-Rookie team honors after leading the Ravens in tackles (110) in the 1996 season. His 15 tackles for loss led the NFL. He added 2.5 sacks, 6 pass deflections, and an interception on the season.

Lewis recorded an NFL best 184 tackles in 1997, earning his first Pro Bowl berth at the end of that season. In addition, Lewis totaled 4 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and 11 pass deflections.

In 1998, Lewis made his second trip to the Pro Bowl after recording 120 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, a forced fumble, and 7 pass deflections leading the Ravens in tackles for the third consecutive season. He was also named to The Sporting News All-Pro Team. In what would prove to be Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders' final game, Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense held him to just 41 rushing yards.[19]

In 1999, Lewis led the NFL in tackles with 168. He was named to a third straight Pro Bowl and was named to the All-Pro 1st team. He also totaled 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, a safety, and a forced fumble. Lewis also won the 1999 NFL Alumni Linebacker Of The Year chosen by past NFL ALUMNI professional players, who chose according to the position in which they played.

In 2000, Lewis led a defense which set a 16-game single season record for fewest points allowed (165) and fewest rushing yards allowed (970). The team recorded four shutouts, one shy of the single season record. The unit finished 1st league-wide in six key defensive categories. Lewis won Super Bowl XXXV MVP honors, Defensive Player of the Year honors, earned a unanimous All-Pro selection, and was once again named to start in the Pro Bowl. Lewis' regular season total of 137 tackles once again led the Ravens, and Lewis added 31 tackles, two interceptions, nine pass deflections, one fumble recovery and a touchdown in the four game playoff run.

In 2001, Lewis earned his 5th consecutive Pro Bowl selection when he led the NFL in tackles 162 and earned 1st-team All-Pro honors. Lewis scored a touchdown in the 2002 Pro Bowl. In the Raven's 2 playoff games Lewis totaled 17 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 pass deflection.

In 2002, Lewis was limited to five games due to a shoulder injury. He still managed to rank 5th on the team with 58 tackles. In addition, Lewis earned two interceptions, two pass deflections, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Lewis earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 4 vs. the Denver Broncos after posting 18 tackles (11 solo), two pass deflections and an interception on "Monday Night Football".[20] After having been selected to the Pro Bowl for five consecutive seasons (1997–2001), Lewis's streak was stopped by his season ending injury. In his absence, the Baltimore Ravens defense would finish ranked 19th in points allowed.

File:Ray Lewis at Ford Field, Detroit.JPG

Lewis roaming the sidelines in a 2005 game at Ford Field in Detroit.

Lewis was the leading vote recipient for the 2003 AP All-Pro team, earning 49 of 50 votes. He also won the annual AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year with 43 votes out of 50. Additionally, Lewis earned Pro Football Weekly, PFWA and Football Digest Defensive MVP honors and was named to Dr. Z's Sports Illustrated All-Pro team, Pro Football Weekly's All-NFL team, Pro Football Weekly's All-AFC team, Football Digest's All-Pro 1st-team, and The Sporting News' All-Pro team. Lewis also earned the KC 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year award for the 3rd time in four years, the 2003 NFL Alumni Linebacker Of The Year, and finished with 161 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 14 pass deflections, and 1 touchdown.. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Month for November[21] and AFC Defensive Player of the week for his fifteen-tackle, one-interception performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17.[22] In the playoffs Lewis totaled 17 tackles.

In 2004, Lewis was named 1st-team All Pro by the AP, 2nd-team "All Pro" by College and Pro Football Weekly and Football Digest, and "All Pro" by The Sporting News. He finished the season with 146 total tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 fumble forced, and 6 pass deflections.

Lewis' 2005 season was cut short by a week 6 injury. He was placed on injury reserve in week 8, having amassed 46 tackles, a sack, an interception, 2 pass deflections, and a fumble recovery in the season's first 6 games.

In 2006, Lewis led the Ravens defense to an NFL best ranking in 14 major defensive categories, including total yards allowed, points per game allowed, and interceptions. The Ravens also finished second in sacks, take-aways, and rushing yards allowed. Lewis missed two games due to injury but still recorded 103 tackles, a personal best five sacks, two interceptions, and eight pass deflections in 14 Games. He also forced a fumble and recovered one. The Ravens allowed just one 100-yard rushing performance in the 14 games Lewis played. Lewis was named AFC Defensive Player of the week following his 7 tackle, one sack, and three pass deflection performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.[23] He was also selected to the Pro Bowl but withdrew because of a hand injury, ceding his spot to fellow Ravens Linebacker Bart Scott.)[24] Lewis finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.[25] Lewis totaled 15 tackles and a pass deflection in the playoffs.

File:Madden NFL 2005 Coverart.png

Lewis on the cover of EA Sports' Madden NFL 2005.

Despite the Baltimore Ravens mediocre 2007 season, Ray Lewis was the team's leading tackler. Against the Browns, Lewis recorded 16 tackles, recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. He also earned his 9th Pro Bowl nod in his 12 year career. He finished the season with 120 total tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 10 passes deflected, 2 Interceptions and 1 touchdown.

In 2008 Lewis led the Ravens to the AFC Championship game while totaling 117 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 9 passes deflected. He was named a starter to the Pro Bowl (his 10th) and was named an Associated Press 1st Team All-Pro for the sixth time. In addition, Lewis was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week following his 8 tackle, 2 interception, 2 pass deflection performance against the Houston Texans in Week 10. In the playoffs, Lewis totaled 29 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 pass deflection in 3 games. After the season, Lewis became an unrestricted free agent, but agreed to return to the Baltimore Ravens to complete his career. The contract, which runs through 2015 (including two option years), is said to be worth $10 million the first year but is highly incentivized.[26]

In 2009 Lewis was named 1st team All Pro by the Associated Press for the seventh time (9th selection overall) and named to his eleventh Pro Bowl. Lewis accumulated an AFC-leading 134 tackles on the season. He also added 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 7 passes deflected. Lewis added 21 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass deflection in 2 playoff games. In the Sept. 2009 issue of Sporting News' Magazine, Lewis was selected to their Team of the Decade (2000's). In Week 2 in 2009 against the Chargers, Lewis made the game-saving tackle on Darren Sproles. After the game, Lewis said that it was one of the best tackles he's made in his career.[27]

In 2010 Lewis was named 2nd team All Pro by the Associated Press for the third time (10th All Pro selection overall) and named to his twelfth Pro Bowl. He totaled 139 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 4 pass deflections, and 1 touchdown. Lewis added 13 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble in 2 playoff games. On Sunday, November 21, 2010, Lewis became only the second player in NFL history to record at least 30 interceptions and 30 sacks in his career (the other being Rodney Harrison). He is also currently the fastest player (204 Games) to achieve that feat.

In 2011 Lewis was named to his thirteenth Pro Bowl and led the Ravens with 95 tackles despite missing 4 games with a injury. Lewis also collected 2 sacks, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, and 7 pass deflections. Lewis totaled 20 tackles and 1 pass deflection in 2 playoff games. On Sunday, October 16, 2011, Lewis became the first player in NFL history with at least 40 sacks and 30 interceptions in his career.[28]

At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Lewis has career totals of 2,004 total tackles (1,523 solo), 18 forced fumbles, 116 passes defended, 101.5 tackles for loss, 40.5 sacks, 19 fumble recoveries, 31 interceptions for 503 yards, one safety and three touchdowns in 222 games.[29] Lewis has been selected to thirteen NFL Pro Bowl games, a record for an Inside/Middle Linebacker, in his sixteen seasons and led the NFL in tackles five times (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004). In 2003, Lewis led all linebackers with six interceptions, a total matching the post-merger all-time record for a middle linebacker in a single season.[30] Lewis was named 1st team Associated Press All-Pro in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2nd team All-Pro in 1997, 1998, and 2010. His ten total All Pro selections is a record for an Inside/Middle Linebacker and ties the record for a Linebacker (Lawrence Taylor also has 10 selections). In 17 career career playoff games Lewis has totaled 163 tackles (106 solo), 2 sack, 6 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions for 54 yards, 14 pass deflections, and 1 touchdown.

Conviction for obstruction of justice

Following a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000, a fight broke out between Lewis and his companions and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were questioned by Atlanta police, and eleven days later the three men were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges. The white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the killings has never been found. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard alleged that the bloodstained suit was dumped in a garbage bin outside a fast food restaurant.[31]

Lewis claimed that the prosecution knew he was not involved in the murder but chose to go ahead with the case anyway, saying, "You don't care if I'm guilty or not. You gonna make sure I go to jail for life."[32] Lewis' attorneys, Don Samuel and Ed Garland, of the Atlanta law firm Garland, Samuel & Loeb, negotiated a plea agreement with Howard, the Fulton County District Attorney, where the murder charges against Lewis were dismissed in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice.[12] Lewis admitted that he gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings. Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner sentenced Lewis to 12 months' probation, the maximum sentence for a first-time offender;[33] and he was fined $250,000 by the NFL, which was believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFL player for an infraction not involving substance abuse.[34] Under the terms of the sentence, Lewis could not use drugs or alcohol during the duration of the probation.

Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted of the charges in June 2000.[35] No other suspects have ever been arrested for the crime.

The following year, Lewis was named Super Bowl XXXV MVP. However, the signature phrase "I'm going to Disney World!" was given instead to quarterback Trent Dilfer.

On April 29, 2004, Lewis reached a settlement with four-year-old India Lollar, born months after the death of her father Richard, preempting a scheduled civil proceeding. Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker's family.[35]


Throughout his career Lewis built a reputation as a leader and intimidating force at middle linebacker. He has led his team in tackles in twelve of his fourteen seasons. The Ravens did not allow a single 100-yard rusher in 51 consecutive games from the 1998 through 2001 seasons. In addition to his run defense, Lewis has also gained a reputation as a complete defender. Since the murder allegations Lewis's image has slowly recovered, and today he is considered one of the most dominant linebackers in the history of the National Football League.[13][36][37][38] Lewis was also selected as the third best linebacker of all time on the show The Sports List. A poll of NFL coaches selected Lewis as the most dominant player in the NFL before the 2003 season by being mentioned on ten ballots while no other player was mentioned more than twice.[39]

Lewis has been referenced in television shows such as The Wire, films such as The Rundown, and in music videos such as in Mario's "Just a Friend 2002" and Nelly's "Heart of a Champion". Lewis has appeared in television ads for NFL Network, Reebok, Under Armour, Old Spice and Eastern Motors. He was the featured athlete on the cover of Madden NFL 2005. That season he missed a number of games to an injury, adding to the Madden Curse.

Other work

Lewis has been heavily involved in charitable activities throughout his professional career. Lewis started the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation which is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. The foundation has funded such events as adopting ten families in Baltimore City community for the holidays, an annual celebrity auction and bowling tournament, the Great Maryland Duck Derby, Thanksgiving food drives on North Avenue in Baltimore and Ray's Summer Days. All proceeds have helped fund the Ray Lewis Foundation.

Lewis has since been involved in pressing political, business, and philanthropic leaders for a stronger commitment to disability sports both here and in the developing world. Lewis was also honored with a JB award (named in honor of CBS broadcaster James Brown) during the 2006 off-season and received the "Act of Kindness" Award for his work in the community.[13]

Lewis opened the Ray Lewis Full Moon Bar-B-Que which operated in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood from February 2005 until 2008.[40] He has also gained several national corporate endorsements, some of which draw upon his tough image. In 2004, Lewis was placed on the cover of the highly popular Madden NFL 2005 video game distributed by EA Sports, and is also a very avid player of the football video game series. In 2006 it was announced that Lewis, Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers and entrepreneur Mark Bloomquist would form S&L Racing, intending to race both cars and trucks from a North Carolina headquarters.[41] The attempt to join NASCAR racing failed.[42]

Awards and accolades

On May 11, 2010, a portion of Baltimore's North Avenue was renamed "Ray Lewis Way" in honor of the linebacker and his charitable work.[43]

Personal life

Lewis is a Christian, and his commitment to his faith was featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story in 2006. He has six children.[9]


  1. "Player Season Finder Query Results". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  2. "Player Season Finder Query Results". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  3. "Player Season Finder Query Results". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  4. "Player Season Finder Query Results". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  5. "Lewis Bio". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  6. "Lewis wins DPOY". Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Ray Lewis NFL Bio". NFL. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  8. "Player Bio: Keon Lattimore". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Price, S.L. (13 November 2006). "The Gospel According To Ray". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  10. "Miami In the Polls". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  11. Ralph Hickok (2010-01-27). "History - Football All-America Teams 1977-present". Hickok Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "ESPN Classic - Lewis knows Super Bowl tragedy, triumph". Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "FYI Online - June 2004 - UMUC". 2004-06-28. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  14. Saraceno, Jon (April 16, 1996). "Picking is slim for teams needing linebackers, tackles". USA Today.
  15. Plaschke, Bill (April 19, 1996). "Rating the NFL Draft". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Marquez, Alex (April 18, 1996). "Illinois' Hardy only top linebacker in draft". Dayton Daily News.
  17. Mulhern, Tom (April 19, 1996). "Packers in deperate need for more depth at linebacker". The Capital Times. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  18. "NFL Draft: Top prospects // Defense". The Orange County Register: p. D15. 20 April 1996.
  19. "NFL Box Score for 12/27/1998". 1998-12-27. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  20. "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2002-10-19. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  21. "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2004-03-18. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  22. "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2004-02-15. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  23. "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  24. "Teammate Scott to replace injured Lewis in Pro Bowl - NFL - ESPN". 2007-01-30. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  25. "Dolphins' Taylor wins Defensive Player of Year - NFL - ESPN". 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  26. Lewis Re-Ups With Ravens, March 11, 2009
  27. Corbett, Jim (September 20, 2009). "Ray Lewis the 'firestarter' as thumping hit stops Chargers". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  29. "Player Bios (A - O)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  30. "Player Season Finder Query Results". Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  31. "Lewis murder charges dropped". CNNSI. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
  32. "In Depth with Graham Bensinger". Yahoo! Sports.;_ylt=Avv3dF_zvmsRyj0VpBO32e5DubYF#news/Graham_Bensinger_InDepth/23037542. Retrieved Nov. 23 2010.
  33. "Ravens star accepts misdemeanor charge, will testify". CNN.
  34. "NFL Fines Ray Lewis $250,000 - ABC News". Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis, National Football League -". 2004-05-02. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  36. Players to rave about
  37. Features - NFL pro football articles and coverage from Pro Football Weekly
  38. "No. 18: The ultimate defender — Ray Lewis". USA Today. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  39. Glazer, Jay (2003-06-13). "Ray Lewis, Marshall Faulk, Brett Favre, National Football League -". Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  40. By DJ GalloPage 2 (Archive (2008-01-02). "ESPN Page 2 - Gallo: The '72 Dolphins speak out". Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  41. "Sayers, Lewis Launch S&L Racing". 2006-03-23. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
  42. "NFL star Ray Lewis turned away by NASCAR? Starts Champ Car team". NASCAR News. 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
  43. "Media Advisory - North Avenue to be Renamed 'Ray Lewis Way'". 2010-03-10. Retrieved 2011-01-28.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Warren Sapp
NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Succeeded by
Michael Strahan
Preceded by
Kurt Warner
NFL Super Bowl MVPs
Super Bowl XXXV, 2001
Succeeded by
Tom Brady
Preceded by
Derrick Brooks
NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Succeeded by
Ed Reed
Preceded by
Michael Vick
Madden NFL Cover Athlete
Madden '05
Succeeded by
Donovan McNabb

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ray Lewis.
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