NEW ORLEANS - Ray Lewis addressed a number of topics while holding court at Media Day on Tuesday, ranging everywhere from the Ravens’ run to the Super Bowl to his own life and whether anyone calls him Raymond.
Here’s a sampling from Lewis, who spoke extensively about how he has changed over the course of his career.
Starting with the lighter side, Lewis said he feels he is a different person from the one who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore at the end of the 2000 season.
“Back then, I was a little more of a follower because I hadn’t won the Super Bowl yet and Shannon (Sharpe) was always trying to tell me what it felt like, what it felt like, and the things you have to do and the things you have to give up,” Lewis said.
“Now it’s different because now I’m a leader going into this Super Bowl because I have felt the confetti before and there’s a bunch of young guys sitting there and just saying, ‘Oh my god, I don’t believe it’s real, I don’t believe it’s real.’ I’m like, ‘It’s real, it’s real.’ So now I’m leading them into what this game is all about, what this 60 minutes is all about. And I think that’s the biggest difference. I’m once a follower and now a leader.”
Now going a little heavier, Lewis also was asked about how the incident in Atlanta in 2000, the year before the Ravens’ first Super Bowl, changed his life. Lewis was charged with having a role in a double murder after a Super Bowl party that year. Charges were dropped and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice.
It’s important to note that since then, Lewis has never been rumored to be involved in any off-field malfeasance or bad behavior, and has been considered a model citizen.
“Adversity should really define who you are and when you really find yourself going through something, which we all have in life, then truthfully who you are at the end of the day - your identity, your integrity, your character - should be revealed because if it’s not, then you didn’t learn nothing from it,” Lewis said. “And I think with everything that I’ve been through in my whole life, for me to be here today, my only purpose in life is to find different ways to help people and encourage people and make our world a better place, I think that’s all of our jobs.”
When specifically asked about how the Atlanta incident changed him, Lewis had a similar, but slightly more detailed response.
“It’s simple. Whatever adversity you go through, at the end of the day, the only thing that comes out of it is your true character and I think change in me is simple because I never had to change outside of this game who I am (except) make sure I watch who I’m around,” Lewis said. “Life takes care of itself definitely if you have your faith in God.”
Moving to lighter topics.
Lewis has had a long connection with the Madden video game series, and even starred in a series of commercials for Madden 13.
“I’ve had an awesome relationship with Madden for so many years. It’s always awesome to work with the guy,” Lewis said of renowned broadcaster and former NFL coach John Madden. “It’s always been an honor to be on the cover of anything, no matter what it is.
“But playing the game, I’ve played it for many, many, many, many, many, many, many years. But I stopped playing it recently because my sons ended up being real dominant in it and I hate losing. So I had to take a break for it. But just that relationship with Madden has always been awesome.”
Lewis also provided his thoughts on Saturday Night Live’s parody of the linebacker during last Saturday’s “Weekend Update” skit.
“I’m a big comedian myself. I love comedy,” Lewis said. “You would never hear me play about God, I don’t play about that. But I looked at it and I was just tearing because he’s actually imitated me before, and I just thought it was hilarious.
“Some people don’t know the meaning about why you do get emotional and things, but there’s always things bigger than the game going on. I mean, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it like most fans enjoyed it.”