Ray Lewis Plays the Media Well
You look at someone like Junior Seau and you want to believe it, but then you look at the speed and ferocity of NFL football and succumb to your common sense. Football is a game best serviced by men in their 20’s, and that decades of punishment through high school, college football and the professional ranks may have put a fine taste on the wine of leadership and savvy, but not the vessel carrying it.
Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis is on mission this summer to defy Father Time and our common sense. While his exercise regiment and dedication are the stuff of local legend, the stuff of sensibility tells you that’s he’s 33 years old. And while the Lewis has preached the gospel of his increased work-outs as the key to his physical salvation on the field, he is not quite the disciple that Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson were; not because he doesn’t want to, but because his position doesn’t allow it.
Sharpe and Woodson, members of the Ravens Super Bowl winning team in 2000, were at the end of their respected careers and committed themselves to preserving the last of their playing days. They ate right and worked out diligently, yes; but they also played positions that require not nearly as much physical toll as the brutal defensive gatekeeping task that is middle linebacker.
On every play, Lewis is diving on top of or emerging from beneath a pile up. He hits and is hit on the majority of the defensive plays, running or passing. While tight end and safety are volatile in their own right, they are not the physically demanding position that middle linebacker is.
But Lewis has made us believe, because we want his controlled insanity to live on the field for several more years. Because we believe in modern medicine, and because miracles happen every so often in sports, we smile and cheer for Ray Lewis. Because the sports media are the biggest hero worshipers known to man, they validate our beliefs, no matter how many games Lewis has missed in the last three seasons.
But Ray Lewis knows that a broken vessel can only be restored but so much.