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.

Mike Smith
As told to Glenn Clark

Mike Smith was one of the Ravens’ two defensive line coaches, along with Rex Ryan, from 1999-2001. He coached the Ravens’ linebackers in 2002.

The thing that I enjoyed was we would game plan on Tuesdays for Wednesday’s practices and Thursday. It was unbelievable the things that he could bring to you from his studying of the game film. He was a master.

We would look at formations, and he would be looking at more minute things, like the stances and the weight. It was just amazing that he had that kind of way of looking at it, and he had a special way of looking at the game of football. It wasn’t just on the field; it was off the field when he was doing his studies. Because he was studying as much as the coaches on his day off. That’s the thing that sticks out the most.

When you’ve got a great player like that, believe me, as coaches, you listen to him. There are very few players like Ray Lewis. I’ve never been around a guy that understood and saw the game from the perspective that he saw it from. Just the perspective that he saw it from was a completely different perspective than 99.9 percent of the players that have played the game. That’s why he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

To read all 52 memories of No. 52, visit


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