In the first of a new series, Stephen Kinsella will look back on the careers of some of the biggest personalities in sport. This week Ray Lewis comes under the microscope.
Ray Lewis is undoubtedly the icon of the NFL of recent generations. His presence on the field for 17 years was for nothing short of immense. However, he will not be remembered for his crunching tackles, his acceleration to the line of scrimmage of her his innate ability to read the opponents offence. No, Ray will be remembered, and fondly at that for being a larger than life character. His booming voice to motivate his teammates, and the fact that he was permanently psyched for action will live long in the memory. It is actually difficult to emphasise how motivated this man was. There is no doubt this man would be pumped eating a bowl of cornflakes, never mind playing in a Superbowl! Throughout his illustrious 17-year career, he was selected for the Pro-Bowl an astonishing 13 times. He was NFL Defensive player of the year twice, two priceless Super-Bowl Rings and even collected MVP in the Superbowl. Not many will reach the same heights as this man.
Lewis hails from Florida and from an early age is was patent that he was destined for greatness. In High School he played on both sides of the football, at Running Back and Linebacker. He was also a Wrestling champion, which should not come as a surprise considering his size and aggression. He was an All-American and was offered a scholarship to the University of Miami, more affectionately known as the ‘U.’ It was here that Ray began to fulfil his undoubted potential. He roomed with Dwayne Johnson, famous actor and wrestler, more commonly known as “The Rock.” Dwayne also lined out for the U. Dwayne was drafted in the NFL but was cut from the Denver Broncos only a few months after joining. Ray started in his Freshman year and was a mainstay in the U side for 3 years. He forewent his final year of college to enter the NFL draft in 1996. He was drafted to the Baltimore Ravens in the 1st round as the 26th pick.
It didn’t take long for Ray to make an impression in the NFL and almost immediately he embarked on a glorious career. His career stats speak for themselves, including over a thousand tackles. His game was based on his motivation, and there are multiple videos on youtube to view his inspirational moments, none more so spectacular than this one.
Ray was known for his diet and his training regime. In order to prolong his career Lewis trained vehemently hard. His desire to be the best stemmed from his father, whom he hated. He had a complicated upbringing of which his father was not a part of. Upon attending high school he learned his father had been a sporting legend at the school and held the vast majority of records. Ray swore to himself that he would do whatever it took to break all these records and eliminate his father’s name from the books. Ray trained as hard as he possibly could often undertake push ups and sit ups until he passed out. He eventually achieved his ambitions. This is where his desire to win derives from. In order to prolong his career Ray always endured his body was a temple. He used to cycle and run 16km a day on top of 3 hours of weight training. He would train for between 8 and 12 hours a day. The fact of the matter was that the mean would do whatever it took to win. A more pulsating figure in the sport or even any sport for that matter, may never be witnessed again.
Pundit Arena, Stephen Kinsella.
Ray Lewis By Maryland GovPics (Flickr: Baltimore Raven’s Homecoming Celebration) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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