Ravens Debates: Jamal Lewis Vs. Ray Rice


The Ravens have had two great running backs in their twenty year run in Baltimore. Jamal Lewis was drafted with the 5th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and became a superstar. Ray Rice was drafted in 2008 and played a large role for the Ravens before a horrible incident essentially ended his career.

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Lewis had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history in 2003. He rushed for 2,066 yards that season, coming close to Eric Dickerson’s record. In week two of that season Lewis rushed for 295 rushing yards against the Browns which was a record back then. It was an incredible performance.

In his prime there may not have been a better running back than Lewis. He was historically good in his first four seasons. Lewis had a ferocity about him and when he had a full head of steam he was almost impossible to stop. Lewis was the offensive player of the year in 2003. He also rushed for 10,000 yards in his career. The problem with Lewis, especially in regards to his legacy is his lack of longevity.

In 2004, the former Tennessee Volunteer rushed for only 1,004 yards. It was a disappointing encore to his legendary effort the year before. In 2005 he only rushed for 906 yards and 3 touchdowns. For the first time in his career, Lewis rushed for less than 4 yards per carry. That was his last year with the Ravens.

From 2009-2012 Rice had over 1,000 yards rushing. He was an all-purpose running back who played a huge role in the passing game. In the seasons of 2009 and 2011, Rice had over 700 yards receiving. He caught 369 passes and had 1,430 rushing attempts in his career.

Rice was the Ravens secret weapon. He had a low center of gravity that helped him maintain his balance and made it hard for defenders to bring him down. Rice had dazzling moves and what he lacked in straight-line speed he made up for with agility and the ability to change directions smoothly.

Rice was such a huge percentage of the offense. He was a huge help to a young Joe Flacco. Before his domestic violence mistake, Rice was one of the most popular players the Ravens ever had. Rice jerseys were everywhere. His teammates and the fans loved everything about Rice.

The most memorable play in Rice’s career was the miraculous 4th & 29 conversion against the San Diego Chargers. Rice caught a pass in the middle of the field and weaved his way for enough yards to keep the game alive. It was amazing. Rice was a three-time Pro Bowl player and he led the league in rushing touchdowns in the 2011 season.

Both Lewis and Rice have had legal troubles. Rice has become a pariah after his horrifying knockout of his wife, in a casino elevator. Lewis actually spent four months in federal prison for a drug crime. So neither player was a perfect person off the field.

In strictly a football point of view you could argue that either player had the better career. I will leave it up to you. Vote in our poll and help us bring the conversation to social media!