By the time Ray Lewis had offered up his final prayers as an NFL player on the turf at New Orleans earlier this year, he'd become a caricature of himself. His wild pre game prayers and motivational speeches inspired smiles as well as motivation. The message, for many, had gotten lost in the delivery.
Joe Flacco, who guided the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory, confessed as much this past weekend at a charity event. As USA Today notes, Flacco didn't try to follow Lewis line by line: "His speeches come from the heart, but there's definitely times where I'm sitting there kind of chuckling to myself," he said. "It's all good. There's nobody that's more passionate about what he does than that guy. So you just sit back and take it all in, but there's times where he says some stuff and you're like, 'Man I don't know what that meant, but I like how he said it.'"
Sure, the parody of Lewis is a scripture-spouting dancing loon:
But if you listen with fair ears, you can't hear Lewis peel off one of his motivational speeches without feeling a touch of something. Maybe you can't run through a brick wall, and maybe you'll chuckle like Flacco, but you can't deny this man knows how to rise up:
It may be quieter in the Ravens' locker room next year, but it'll be a lot less interesting, too.
-Follow Jay Busbee at @jaybusbee.-