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.

Matt Stover
As told to Glenn Clark

Matt Stover was the Ravens’ kicker from 1996-2008.

One of my things that I remember vividly is when he was a rookie. Most rookies come in, and they’re a rookie. OK, great, you’re first-rounders, so what? Let’s see what you can do. This guy came in, and I saw people that were veterans and had immediately looked at him as a leader on the team.

Mind you, we were a brand new team. And there was some leadership that came with the Browns, but this guy had that persona about him that just commanded it. He didn’t demand it — there’s a difference. His personality and the way he handled himself and the way he played commanded it. It was awesome to watch. I had never been around that in my life on a field where one of your players stands out dramatically above everyone with his ability to lead. And coming from me, that’s a lot. I played 20 years. The second one would be Peyton Manning.

In 2003, we had had the youngest NFL team ever assembled on the field. And we got out on the field the first game, and he got everybody in the huddle, and it sent chills up my spine at the time and still does when I talk about it. His words were, “Match me and we’ll win.” He’s not telling everybody to go do something, he’s telling them to follow me, and if you follow me and do what I say, play like I play, we will win. And it was like, “Holy crap.” I’ve never seen that. That’s like a king out there saying, “I’m not only going to lead you guys, I’m going to show you. Let’s go. And I’m going to fight out there with you.”

And we went to the playoffs that year. And that was because of him.

To read all 52 memories of No. 52, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Ray.

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