Ray Lewis: 8 Amazing Video Highlights from the Baltimore Ravens Star's Career
With 1,184 career tackles, 38.5 career sacks, 30 career interceptions, 14 career forced fumbles and three career defensive touchdowns, there is little doubt that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is one of the best middle linebackers to ever play the game. He is also one of the best defensive players to ever play the game.
Lewis has made a career out of punishing backs and receivers, and since his rookie season in 1996, he has gifted more bruises, broken more bones and terrified more quarterbacks than arguably any other NFL player in the same time span.
Usually, front-seven players perform without glory. They're asked to hold the edge on outside contain, to make the simple tackle, to gnarl knuckles in the trenches. Compared to defensive-back counterparts, linebackers are often not viewed as human highlight reels.
That is unless they're named Ray Lewis.
Here's a look at eight video highlights from the legendary Ravens linebacker's career.
Sport Science: Ray the Human Battering Ram
What, you thought every video in this slideshow was going to be a game-day highlight?
You can't build a Lewis videography without featuring this video, which was admittedly one of the first "Sport Science" segments I had ever seen. In the video, the force of Lewis' impact is measured against that of a SWAT team's battering ram.
Guess who wins?
And now imagine being a human being on the receiving end of that shoulder pad. Instead of, you know, a door.
One Titanic Tackle
(Assuming, of course, knocking Tennessee Titans fullback Ahmard Hall from Nashville to Narnia is still considered a "tackle" and not a "killshot.")
I actually give credit to Hall for getting up and jawing back at Lewis here but, wow, what a hit. Guarantee this second quarter skull crusher bounced around in Hall's cranial cavity for a few quarters (or years perhaps) afterward as well.
We'll note that Hall did get the first down here, but likely at the expense of remembering long division.
I'm sure Lewis would identify this as one of his top career highlights. But what makes this so incredible to me isn't just the play itself, or Lewis' ability to return the interception for a touchdown, or Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George's "kill me now" face-down pose on the field. It's Lewis' propensity for storytelling.
(Cue dramatic NFL Films soundtrack.)
Lewis would make a great television personality after he retires. He's got a knack for the dramatic. To listen to Lewis re-live this moment is actually more enthralling than watching the highlight itself.
Ocho Cinco Seeing Ocho
No word on whether or not Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco considered a name change after this hit, but then I'm not sure if he even remembers his current name after Lewis finished Bengal hunting.
Of course, this hit would probably draw a $250,000 fine in today's NFL climate, so perhaps it's wrong to cheer lead what is now determined to be a cheap shot, especially on a defenseless receiver.
But hey, it looks great on a highlight reel (and that may be the foremost quandary when it comes to headhunting in football—everyone wants to make that highlight reel play).
That's Lovely Teamwork!
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister was more than happy to take this gift interception after Lewis popped Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow all the way to Zanzibar.
Opportunistic? Perhaps. But this highlight is a reminder of not only what Lewis brings to the Ravens defense, but also how talent-rich the Ravens defense has traditionally been.
Lewis and the Ravens made playing defense on Madden fun again. Mostly because anything viewed as impossible in Madden was often replicated on Sundays by Baltimore's defense.
While this hit may not be as bone jarring as the pops on Tennessee Titans fullback Ahmard Hall or former Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow, it's perhaps even more impressive than both.
So often when we discuss last-minute wins in the NFL, we talk about Hail Mary passes, about clutch catches, runs, passes. It seems rare that we discuss a defensive game winner, and usually when we do, it's a pick that seals it.
This highlight might embody Lewis' greatness more than any other. His timing, movement through the trenches and textbook-form tackle are all a testament to his future spot in the Hall of Fame.
Getting Older, or Getting Better?
Every year, it seems like analysts predict the decline of Lewis' career, saying he's getting too old to be an impact linebacker, that his age will catch up to him, that the Baltimore Ravens' defense will see a decline in play at the middle linebacker position.
And every year, Lewis seems to prove doubters wrong.
I'm not sure about the "master of disaster" moniker that ESPN analyst Jon Gruden applied in this clip (or any of his countless other monikers: "The Sheriff," "The Joker," "The Surgeon," etc.), but I am sure that, in 2011, receivers will still fear for their lives as they go across the middle of the Ravens' defense, as New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller learned the hard way.
Maybe one of the reasons we like Lewis the most is because of his undeniable swagger, as is evidenced in this clip.
Showy? Perhaps. But you can't argue he leaves anything on the field in terms of play, preparation or attitude. And most Lewis haters would have to reluctantly admit that they wish they had someone this invested in the game of football on their favorite team.
Lewis will go down in NFL history as not just one of the best linebackers to play the game, but one of the best dancers as well. The only thing missing here is a duet with Chris Brown.