Why Ray Lewis is the Premier Leader in the NFL

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Why Ray Lewis is the Premier Leader in the NFL
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Ray Lewis has played for the Ravens since 1996, he's been selected to 10 Pro Bowls, and won the NFL defensive player of the year award twice, in both 2000 and 2003. 

Lewis boasts more than 1,700 career tackles and over 35 career sacks.

He's known as one of the most dominant middle linebackers in the history of the NFL. 

But it's not all of these accolades that make him so important to the Baltimore Ravens.

It's the intangibles.

Ray Lewis is one of the premier leaders in the NFL, it's this intangible that drove the Raven's to bring Lewis back for another season—paying him 22 million dollars over the next three years.

If you've ever been to a Raven's game you've seen the way that Lewis interacts with both his teammates and the fans.  He gets everyone riled up and fired up.  He walks the line of being cocky, but never takes it too far...and has the skills to back it up. 

"He has unbelievable leadership ability in the locker room, in the weight room and out on the practice field," said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. "He helps our young kids not just be football players, but to become professional football players. And that makes a big difference.”

As I watched the interview of Ray Lewis and Ray Rice after today's game against the Steelers (which the Ravens won 20-17 in overtime), it was clear to me why, despite his falling numbers, the Raven's continue to put faith in Ray Lewis.

Lewis speaks from the heart in such an ecstatic manner that all of those around him are inspired.  He has fun, and truly seems to enjoy the company of his teammates.

He will get in teammates faces, but is just as quick to give love when they have done something well.

Ray Lewis is more than just a football player.  Ray Lewis has become an emblem of all the the Baltimore Ravens want to be.  A dominant force that inspires all those in the NFL.

Under Lewis' leadership the Raven's have become workhorses.  Come what may...they will fight to the end.

He inspires those around him to work harder.  He gets into the heads of the opposition.  Ray Lewis is the ultimate leader in the NFL.

When Ray Lewis retires it is rumored that the Ravens are going to build a statue of him right next to the statue of Johnny Unitas.

That is right were he belongs: Next to the great Johnny U and standing forever in Baltimore.

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