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
Hall of Famer Mike Singletary was the Ravens’ linebackers coach from 2003-2004.
When I first got the job in Baltimore, I really was not a fan of Ray’s. I had seen him play bits and pieces, but he was always talking. When I got to Baltimore, I was in the locker room, first day, and he came in. He saw me across the locker room, and he came over and he said, “Hey, coach. This is an answered prayer. Man, I am so thankful that you’re here. I want you to teach me everything you know. I want you to teach me everything you know about being a great football player. I want to be the best football player of all-time. I want to be everything. Coach, I want you to teach me everything you know about being a man, about being a father. I want to know all of that.”
And this is my first time meeting him. I’m looking at him, and I’m like, “Wow.”
So when I met him for the first time, I thought, “What a guy to be so humble and willing to learn and on his journey deciding to be the best that he could possibly be.” So that said everything to me about him.
I remember one game we were playing, it was a preseason game, and I was telling Ray, I said, “Look, you have to not hit that guy so hard, but hit him getting to the next guy.” And he said, “Coach, you can’t do that.” I’m like, “What do you mean ‘You can’t do it’? I’m telling you that you can do it.”
He said, “No, no, I don’t see how you can do that.”
I said, “I’ll tell you what. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to have on my pads. Put on your pads, and as a matter of fact, all the linebackers are going to have their pads on. We’re going to go out there, and I’m going to show you what I’m talking about.”
So I went out there the next morning, and I did what I was trying to tell him to do. And they just kind of looked at each other and go, “OK, OK. You got it.”
But there were not many times that Ray disagreed with me. That’s the other thing that was really great about him. He was very respectful. I don’t remember a time where we were in an argument. We did have maybe two or three where I would just say, “OK, Ray, you know what, how about you just be Ray?” He knew what I meant by that. Just be Ray. That’s it. Nothing else.
To read all 52 memories of No. 52, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Ray.