Class of 2018 Finalist Spotlight: Ray Lewis

Class of 2018 Finalist Spotlight: Ray Lewis

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Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis was recently selected as a finalist for Class of 2018. If elected, he would be the second player from the Ravens franchise to be Enshrined.

University of Miami (FL) linebacker Lewis entered the NFL as the Baltimore Ravens first round pick, 26th overall, in the 1996 NFL Draft. Lewis, the franchise’s second-ever draft choice (Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden was the first), played his entire 17-year career with the team (1996-2012).

Lewis immediately became a leader on defense and led the team in tackles as a rookie. That marked the first of 14 times in his 17 seasons that he led the team in that category. At the time of his retirement in 2012, Lewis held three records with the Ravens – most seasons played (17), most career games (228) and most career opponent fumbles recovered (20). He posted a franchise record 2,643 career tackles, including a single season team-best 225 stops in 2003.

In 2000, Lewis led a staunch Ravens defense which established a 16-game single-season record for the fewest points allowed (165), the fewest rushing yards allowed (970) and recorded four shutouts. The season was capped with a 34-7 victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV where Lewis’ three tackles, two assists and four passes defensed earned him Most Valuable Player honors.

Lewis’s career ended in storybook fashion after the 2012 season when he recovered from a torn triceps muscle in midseason to participate in the team’s postseason run. In his final game, he had three tackles, two assists and four passes defensed to help Baltimore defeat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.

A 12-time Pro Bowl selection, Lewis received first-team All-Pro honors eight times during his career. He was recognized as the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003, and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Lewis is the only player in the NFL history with at least 40 career sacks and 30 career interceptions (41.5 sacks and 31 interceptions). He is second only to Hall of Famer Jack Ham (53) in take-aways by a linebacker since the 1970 merger with 50 – 31 interceptions and 19 opponents’ fumble recoveries.

Shortly after retiring from football, Lewis joined ESPN, Fox and most recently Showtime as an analyst.

He also established the Ray Lewis Family Foundation, which provides personal and economic assistance to underserved youth in Maryland, Florida and beyond. He’s also been involved in community activities through his foundation, providing donations, grants and scholarships.



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