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
Michael McCrary played defensive end for the Ravens from 1997-2002.
We played Tennessee in 2001. And obviously, the Titans were our main competition, so it was an extremely physical game. It was banging heads. It was on “Monday Night Football,” and Tennessee ran a play, it was the last play of the game and somehow there was a penalty. And the refs said we’re going to do the play over. There’s zero time on the clock, and the ball was on like the 3-yard line or 2-yard line — something crazy. And we were winning the game, but if they scored, they won the game.
And I remember clearly the intensity of the moment. A lot of guys back there would be screaming and hollering, making all types of noise. But I remember clearly, we went in the huddle, Ray called the play and everybody looked at each other. Just these eyes, and Ray just looked at everybody with just intensity. There were no words that were spoken.
I looked at Ray, our eyes connected. We just looked at each other and kind of slightly nodded, like we knew exactly what we had to do. And that’s what was so amazing about it. You have a moment like that, there’s so much intensity; everything is riding on one play. I think people dream to be in this situation where one play decides the game. And the Titans are right there. They’ve got Eddie George, a really good running back at the time, a power back. So 3 yards was nothing, especially with Steve McNair at quarterback; he was larger than I was.
I’ll never forget that moment, Ray and I looked at each other, and it was like you were able to communicate through your eyes. It was just a very special moment.
After we stopped them, the whole defense was insanity. And we busted the play on that play, but we were so good and we were so fast, other players were able to make up for it. It was just really special. And normally they would get that all day long. Maybe it was a yard, something insane because Tennessee was so powerful up front with McNair and Eddie George back there. So a lot of power, such a short distance to go, everything on the line. And the moment right before it happened, just to be able to communicate with no words was special. Never done that before like that. Never felt like that in a situation like that.
It was a very special team. I feel blessed to be a part of a group like that.
To read all 52 memories of No. 52, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Ray.