In the third part of my interview with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, we took our conversation away from the football field for a moment to talk about something even more meaningful to the people of Baltimore—the current status of the Charm City and the inherent problems that plague it on a daily basis.
When I spoke with Ray back in February about his new Pepsi MAX ad, which was filmed during the Pro Bowl, he was profoundly interested in an acting career when the time comes to take off the cleats and retire from the NFL.
However, aside from a possible career in the acting business, I got the sense that Ray is committed to a much more important endeavor—lending a hand to help turn the city of Baltimore around from a path of crime and poverty that currently infests the inner city.
According to data collected by the FBI in 2009 that rates crime in cities with at least 250,000 residents, Baltimore averages fifth in the nation for all types of violent crime (murder, manslaughter and rape). Unfortunately, for the Charm City, violent crimes have been trending upwards over the past decade, and without true reform, will likely continue that trend for the better part of this decade.
Lewis, who has been a Baltimorean for over 15 years and calls the city his home for life, truly understands the magnitude of the problems facing Baltimore.
“A lot of my efforts are to make sure that my city becomes a better and safer place. A lot of the time, we focus on sports, but for me, it’s saddening to see our crime rate near the top of the country. It bothers me, because we have a great city. We just have to change the way people think, and the way we see each other.”
Lewis is not the type of person to talk idly about these topics. He sets his words into motion by contributing to countless charities in the greater Baltimore area that provide for underprivileged youth. In addition, Lewis works closely with the Baltimore police department in training young officers with specialized workouts that will help them combat certain situations on the beat.
Whether it’s in the spotlight or behind the scenes, Lewis has already made a big impact on the city, continuing to make it a better place for everyone, every single day.
During this portion of my interview with Ray, I got the impression that a position in public office within the city of Baltimore is certainly on his radar, among many other things.
“The opportunities are endless for what I want to do with my life when the game is done. At the end of the day, I know all of it will come up under the umbrella of helping somebody in one way or another.”
Being the multi-faceted person Lewis is, he will undoubtedly keep all options on the table until it’s time to make a decision on his post-football career. Whether that’s a permanent position in the Ravens front office where Lewis already spends a great deal of time, or mayor of Baltimore, Lewis is very capable of being highly successful in either of those career choices.
If Lewis does choose a career in public service, such as mayor of Baltimore, he has many great personal attributes to make him an effective public servant. Lewis has the instant name recognition factor and is extremely well liked. He understands the problems that face the city better than most people do, and Lewis is already fighting the battle to make the city of Baltimore a much better place to live.
Baltimore is a great city, and with a little bit of help, will become a safe community to live in once again. Ray Lewis might be the person we need to change this city for the better.
Still more to come on my interview with Ray Lewis, including his take on Ray Rice and the future of the Baltimore Ravens.
Todd McGregor is a Baltimore Ravens Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
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