As Ray Lewis prepares to take his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, teammates, coaches, opponents, family and members of the media reflect on the legacy of the legendary Ravens linebacker with their favorite memories and never-before-heard stories.
As told to Glenn Clark
Greg Mattison was the Ravens’ linebackers coach in 2008 and the defensive coordinator from 2009-2010.
As a coach, I’ve always liked to communicate with my guys, like say, “Good job, take a step more to the left,” or “Good job, come off the ball better,” that kind of thing.
I remember standing there watching Ray my first season, and there’s nothing I could say. I kept thinking, “God, I don’t like this.” I’m sitting there like I’m a mute. I would watch Ray, and then Ray would be standing there, and the things we would talk about in the meeting, he would be telling the defensive line — “The play’s coming over here,” or, “The play’s coming over there,” or something.
We were in practice, and finally, Ray came up to me after practice. And I loved Ray; he was such a great person. He came up to me and he said, “Coach, is there anything you see that you think you could help me with?” I’m thinking, “Oh, my God. Ray Lewis is asking me right now, he’s the best linebacker ever to play the game of football, and he’s going to ask me this question.” And I said, “Yeah, as a matter of fact, Ray, there is.” And he looked at me and I said, “Ray, every time I’ve watched you now, your feet have gotten so wide that every time you’re stepping to the right or left, you false step. You step underneath yourself.” After I said it, I went, “Oh no, what did I just do?” And so he looked at me like I had six heads, and he goes, “Coach, thank you. Wow, thank you.” And so anyhow, I was walking away and I’m thinking, “Oh, man.” I mean, I just got done telling Ray Lewis football stuff like a young rookie.
He comes back the next day, and practice is ready to start and he comes up to me with all kinds of excitement, and he said, “Coach, I can’t believe it. I went home, I put on practice tape through about the last month, and I watched it. I can’t believe I’ve been false stepping on all these plays.” I was like, “Oh God, thank God.” And he goes, “I can’t thank you enough. Can we stay after and practice stepping?” And the guy’s played 15 years now or something like that. He says, “Coach, can we stay after and practice this?” I walked off that practice field, and I said, “This guy truly is the best linebacker that’s ever played the game.”
To read all 52 memories of No. 52, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Ray.