Ravens’ Lewis eyes super end to storybook career

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Ravens’ Lewis eyes super end to storybook career

NEW ORLEANS - Ray Lewis, the face of the Baltimore Ravens franchise, believes the time has come for another Super Bowl title for his team.

“I just think that if it is your time, it’s your time,” Lewis told reporters on Wednesday ahead of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans between Baltimore and San Francisco.

“For us to be here today, it’s bottom line, our time.”

Lewis has been one of the dominant linebackers of his era since joining the Ravens in their inaugural season as the 18th pick of the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft out of the University of Miami.

Lewis, a 13-time Pro Bowl selection, seven-time First Team All-Pro, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and MVP of the Ravens’ Super Bowl win in 2001, has also been the unquestioned leader of the team even while dealing with controversies.

The deeply religious Lewis has led with a fervor and showed his evangelical fire on Wednesday when asked again to react to a report he had dismissed the day before claiming he had taken a banned substance this season to aid his recovery from injury.

After firmly denying the allegation, he said the matter would have no affect on his teammates.

“It’s a joke, if you know me. I tell them all the time, and this is what I try to teach them, don’t let people from the outside ever come and disturb what’s inside,” said Lewis. “That is the trick of the devil. The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy. That is what he comes to do. He comes to distract you from everything you are trying to do.”

Lewis has dealt with other controversies, most notably when he was linked to a double murder after a scuffle outside an Atlanta nightclub in the early morning hours of the 2000 Super Bowl, which he attended as a spectator.

The linebacker was charged and plea bargained to a misdemeanor. He was also fined $250,000 by the NFL.

“I live with it every day of my life, and I would rather not talk about it,” Lewis told reporters during the massive Media Day that kicked off the Super Bowl week.

Lewis began to rehabilitate his image immediately following the Atlanta incident as he led the Ravens defense in a record-setting season that carried them to a one-sided Super Bowl triumph over the New York Giants.

“People keep saying, is he the greatest linebacker of all time?” said Brian Billick, coach of that Ravens team and now an analyst for the NFL Network. “I’m not into labels, but let’s talk about the greatest defensive players of all time. He’s in the discussion.” Reuters

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