Ray Lewis Is A First Ballot Lock For The Hall Of Fame
Former Baltimore Raven great Ray Lewis will be eligible for the NFL Hall of Fame in 2018
On Saturday at the NFL Honors ceremony, the 2017 NFL Hall of Fame class was announced.
The class was headlined by great players such as Kurt Warner and LaDainian Tomlinson, and Terrell Davis. Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor for a player. It awards them for their accomplishments and life long commitment to the game of football. Out of the thousands of players, coaches, and owners involved in the game, only 310 have made it to the Hall of Fame.
When the inductees were announced, many Raven’s fans were quick to point out a first timer for next years’ class. That first timer is none other than Ray Lewis.
Best Middle Linebacker Ever?
Ray Lewis made a career out of punishing opposing players. I think he is the best middle linebacker to ever suit up in the NFL. The only other player that can be argued is Lawrence Taylor. Both were 10 time All-Pro selections in their respective careers.
The reason I give him the edge over Taylor is his impact on the franchise. If you ask someone what player comes to their mind when they think of the Baltimore Ravens it is Ray Lewis. If you ask the same about the Giants, I’m not sure you get Lawrence Taylor as much. Lewis had the advantage coming into the franchise at the right time. Because was drafted in the first year of the franchise’s history he is considered the foundation of what the team became to be.
Not to mention, the Raven’s unveiled a statue of Lewis in front of M&T Bank Stadium in 2014. The only other statue to stand next to it is another Baltimore in legend in Johnny Unitas.
Even with the timing, his play and passion on the field is the main reason why people remember him.
In 2000, Lewis led one of the best defenses in NFL history. The defense allowed only 2.7 rushing yards per game and only gave up 165 points ALL season, which is unheard of. To make things even more impressive, they forced a whopping 26 fumbles.
Lewis’s accomplishments are too much to fit into one article. He tallied over 2,000 tackles, was a 13 time Pro Bowler and a 2 time Defensive Player of the Year, just to name a few. He was a great tackler that knew how to bring a player down. His ability to lead with his shoulder is something that is seen rarely in today’s game.
A Legacy That Won’t Be Tarnished
Even with his legacy, there will always be people who will criticize Lewis for a certain off the field incident. During the 2000 season, Lewis was accused of being involved in a murder that killed two men. The chargers were eventually dropped and he never received any jail time. Critics argue that Lewis was guilty, but there was not enough sufficient evidence to make the case. Now it has become a running joke whenever he is in the public eye.
It is a shame that people will tarnish a great legacy by accusations that have no proof. Without Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens are not what they are today. He gave the city of Baltimore 17 fantastic seasons and 2 Super Bowl titles.
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Ray Lewis’s passion and love for the game of football is something that you will not find in many others. He did not do it just for the money, he played because he loved the game of football. He stuck with the organization that drafted him through thick and thin. No matter the outside noise, Ray Lewis will be getting his gold jacket fitted for his 2018 Hall of Fame induction next year.