Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: The spotlight shines on the several sides of Ray Lewis

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 30, 2013 - 7:31 AM

NEW ORLEANS - There has to be more than one Ray Lewis, right?

One man -- at least one who isn't Tim Tebow -- can't possibly cause such a wide grab bag of mixed emotions that are so bright and yet so dark, so full of love and yet so filled with hatred.

One man can't be both a throwback warrior and a modern-day drama queen. One man's reputation can't be so clear-cut when it comes to legendary play and yet so blurred by controversy off the field.

But that's Ray Anthony Lewis Jr., whose 17-year Hall of Fame career is winding down with all those emotions and all that greatness battling all those past problems and, yes, even a new controversy as well.

Five days before he plays his final game in Super Bowl XLVII, Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens were confronted in New Orleans with a Sports Illustrated report that says Lewis was given deer antler extract, which contains a banned substance, to help his torn triceps heal more quickly.

Lewis denied the report and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the linebacker never tested positive for any performance-enhancing drugs. But 13 years after he spent Super Bowl media day addressing his involvement in a double murder case the year before, Lewis once again finds himself on the wrong side in the court of public opinion.

Right or wrong, Lewis' remarkable story about coming back from what seemed to be a season-ending injury just in time to lead the Ravens in post-season tackles en route to the Super Bowl is now shrouded by suspicion.

While Lewis dodged the baggage from his past and present, teammates and members of Sunday's opposition -- the San Francisco 49ers -- spoke about the 37-year-old 13-time Pro Bowler with reverence. In league player circles, Lewis is more Godfather than professional peer.

"When I came into the league, I thought Ray Lewis was 6-foot-6, 275 pounds," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "I did a commercial with him before I even got drafted. I was like, 'Oh, you're not that tall.' But it's just something about that guy."

Yes, he can be larger than life, whether it's crushing a running back, preaching to his teammates or crying and looking to the heavens during the national anthem, as CBS cameras captured before the AFC Championship Game at New England.

"Ray Lewis taught me how to be a pro," Ravens running back Ray Rice said. "Me being a pro has everything to do with how you act, not only on the field, but off the field as well. He set the example."

Respect and repulsion

Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, no softy on players, hugged Lewis after the linebacker's last game in Baltimore. Then he talked about hiring Lewis as a special advisor because, "he's a tremendous voice of reason."

And yet there's the flip side. There's always a flip side with Ray Lewis.

Shortly after the Patriots lost to the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game, Anna Welker, the wife of Patriots receiver Wes Welker, turned to Facebook to unleash the kind of anger that is commonplace among Lewis' haters. She wrote: "By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis' Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!"

She apologized later. But it's hard to make something like that go away. Just as Lewis can't escape what happened in Atlanta in the early morning hours on Jan. 31, 2000.

Outside a nightclub during Super Bowl week, Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker were stabbed to death. The murders still haven't been solved.

Lewis originally was charged with two counts of murder, but they were dropped in exchange for his testimony against two of his friends, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting. Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor, while Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted. The white suit Lewis wore that night never turned up.

Lewis received one year of probation and a $250,000 fine by the NFL. Family members of the two men who were murdered sued Lewis for $13 million but settled for an undisclosed sum.

Coming full circle

Lewis was 24 years old the first time he sat at the Super Bowl and fielded questions about that night in Atlanta. Tuesday, he had to do it again.

"As hard as it is for them, as hard as it is ... for [what] you want me to speak about or you want to report about, I just don't believe, honestly, that this is not the appropriate time for that," Lewis said. "Because the sympathy I have for that family or what me and my family have endured because of all of that, nobody here is really qualified to ask those questions. I live with that every day. You maybe can take a break from it. I don't. I live with it every day of my life, and I'd rather not speak of that today."

Lewis will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after he retires on Sunday evening. But, right or wrong, the court of public opinion won't stop churning for one of the greatest players in NFL history.

The Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio. That's about 15 miles south of Akron, which is where Baker and Lollar were born, raised and are now buried.

  • SUPER BOWL XLVII

    San Francisco vs. Baltimore • 

    5:30 p.m. Sunday • Ch. 4 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Denver 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Carolina 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Detroit 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Denver 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Portland 7:00 PM
Houston
Utah 7:00 PM
Memphis
Toronto 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Dallas
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Washington
Nashville 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Florida
Arizona 9:00 PM
Vancouver
San Jose 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 29 2nd Half
Bradley 24
Brown 36 2nd Half
Central Conn St 21
Stetson 26 2nd Half
Florida State 29
Ill-Chicago 16 2nd Half
Northwestern 31
Ohio 16 1st Half 10:05
George Washington 20
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Elon 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Penn State
Green Bay 3:30 PM
UC Irvine
DePaul 3:30 PM
Colorado
Lewis & Clark 4:00 PM
Portland
SC State 4:30 PM
Abilene Christian
Manhattan 5:00 PM
Fordham
Truett-McConnell 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Citadel 5:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Ohio 5:00 PM
Ohio State
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Purdue
Idaho 5:00 PM
Northern Ky
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Albany
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Butler
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
UCF
Oakland 6:00 PM
Clemson
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Norfolk State 6:00 PM
James Madison
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Towson 6:00 PM
Navy
Long Island 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
William & Mary 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Liberty 6:00 PM
Princeton
Delaware 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Colgate 6:00 PM
Syracuse
Kansas 6:00 PM
Temple
Mercer 6:00 PM
Tennessee
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Va Military 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
New Orleans 6:05 PM
Indiana
Columbia 6:30 PM
Connecticut
Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
Wofford 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
Baylor
UAB 7:00 PM
Chattanooga
Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
North Florida 7:00 PM
Iowa
NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Rice 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Mich 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Michigan
Furman 7:00 PM
Minnesota
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Weber State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Grambling St 7:00 PM
TCU
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Penn 7:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Chicago State 7:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Simpson 7:05 PM
Drake
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
UMKC
Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Wisconsin 8:00 PM
California
Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
LSU
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Marquette
Northern New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
UC Santa Barbara 8:00 PM
Oregon
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Providence
Northeastern 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Kent State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
UC Davis 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Lewis-Clark State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Walla Walla 8:05 PM
Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:30 PM
Houston
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Washington
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Hawaii
BYU 14 2nd Qtr
Memphis 17
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Holy Cross 78
Temple 59 FINAL
Villanova 64
Georgia Southern 68 FINAL
Southern U 52
Xavier 60 FINAL
Kennesaw St 61
Eastern Michigan 52 FINAL
Michigan 81
Brescia 56 FINAL
Marshall 127
(21) West Virginia 29 2nd Half
Ohio State 43
UMBC 38 2nd Half
MD-Eastern Shore 38
Cornell 39 2nd Half
Loyola-Maryland 28
St Bonaventure 28 2nd Half
Georgetown 31
New Hampshire 26 2nd Half
Northeastern 34
Eastern Washington 15 1st Half 13:13
Florida 8
Rice 2:00 PM
Texas Southern
Butler 3:05 PM
Illinois State
UC Davis 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Washington St 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Sacramento St 4:00 PM
San Jose St
SIU-Edwardsville 4:30 PM
UMKC
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(14) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Longwood
Kansas 6:05 PM
Creighton
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Missouri
Hampton 7:00 PM
DePaul
Florida State 7:00 PM
Tulane
Murray State 7:00 PM
Illinois
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins off-season moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close